European University of Lefke, Education and Research Center for Children with Special Needs (ÖÇEM) organized a conference themed “Reflection of International Conventions on Disabled People to Turkey”. Academician of Gazi University Faculty of Education Dr. Mahmut Çitil attended the conference as a speaker.
Çitil: Disabled people are a part of life since the beginning of the humanity
Pointing out that disabled people are part of life since the beginning of the humanity Çitil said that the situation of the disabled people was not very good in prehistoric times. Çitil pointed out that the people with disabilities had no citizenship rights in the Ancient Era, were despised, deemed sinister and unnecessary, in the Early Age it was believed that they were captured by the demons and that had special powers. Çitil pointed out that it was a great chance to survive as a disabled person during those times. Çitil said that in the Middle Ages, especially with the spread of Christianity, killing the disabled people stopped and two groups formed and added that the first group had shown interest and compassion for the disabled and that the other group made disabled people work hard in tiring jobs.
Stating that studies on the education of disabled people started in the period of renaissance and reform, Çitil said that, the school for people with hearing disabilities was opened in London in 1648 and in France in 1875 for sight-disabled persons and started institutionalizing.
Çitil: There is a positive attitude towards disabled people in Turkish society
Stating that the attitude towards the disabled is more positive in the Turkish society, Çitil said that in the old Turkish society, it was believed that the disabled had special powers, and that they have certain duties and responsibilities in the society and they contribute to the production. Çitil pointed out that the disabled were cared during the Ottoman period and stated that in 1889 the Istanbul School for Speech Disabled was established.
He pointed out that the first international agreement on disabilities in the world was the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 1975, and added the declaration included articles about the rights to treatment of disabled, the development of transport facilities for disabled and rights to have an esteemed and proper living conditions for disabled people. Çitil said that after the 1975 declaration many legislative regulations were carried out by the United Nations, and added that these regulations positively affected the legal regulations in Turkey. Pointing out that fundamental developments related to special education in Turkey are carried out by a group of educators and scientists Çitil said that Mitat Enç, has been active since the 1950s, and Prof Dr. Ayşegül Ataman since 1980 have been leading figures who have played an active role in the development of the field and in the implementation of legal regulations.
Çitil emphasized that the basic problems of the disabled people are; protectionist attitudes, employment problems, exclusion, daily measures and aid, and the obstacles created by the society.
At the end of the conference, Chairperson of the EUL Department of Special Education, Prof. Dr. Ayşegül Ataman presented flowers and certificate of appreciation to Çitil.