Child Poverty and Conditional Cash Transfers in Turkey
Humanities and Social Sciences Yildiz Technical University Istanbul, Turkey
Turkey has been experiencing a radical transformation during the last three decades. The neo-liberal policies implemented during the 1980s, the impacts of the financial crises and the process of globalisation have caused new forms of social stratification, new types of employment and cultural dynamics to emerge. As a result of these developments the incidence of poverty has increased and children being the most vulnerable group in the society have been deeply affected. In Turkey, 28 per cent of children or about 5.6 million children face poverty. This paper firstly aims to provide a short overview of child poverty in Turkey. The situation of the children will be considered in relation to maternal and child health, education and child labour.
After the 2001 financial crisis, the Government adopted a proactive attitude in the struggle against poverty and Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) were adopted. CCTs make payments to households that meet specific conditions or undertake certain actions and aim to break the intergenerational transmission of poverty, through investing in the education and health of children. The second objective of the paper is to review the current state of CCTs in Turkey and evaluate their impacts on child poverty. The study will present a descriptive and analytic overview of the programme; will explain its components and discuss major aspects of its design and implementation. The focus will be on education indicators of the children receiving CCTs and try to find out whether any positive change on enrolment ratios of children, especially the girl children benefiting CCTs, has been realized.
The purpose is to generate an information base for comparative studies on the prospects and potential difficulties of implementing CCTs in country settings similar to Turkey, with special attention to what can be learned from the experiences. In the last section of the paper, challenges faced by the programme will be identified and main findings and policy implications will be discussed.