The 12th edition of the Accessibility Fair and Awareness Summit will begin in Istanbul on Dec. 1. The four-day event, the sixth of its kind in the world, aims to introduce visitors to the latest accessibility technologies as well as to raise awareness for the challenges faced by the disabled community in daily life.
The event is sponsored by the Presidency, the Ministry of Family and Social Services, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), business chambers and Sabah newspaper.
Lokman Ayva, chair of the White Crescent (Beyazay) Association, one of the sponsors of the event, said at a recent press conference about the fair and summit that they would be held on an international level where ministries and public agencies working in the field, as well as universities and NGOs, will attend, along with participation from private sector companies focusing on accessibility.
“It will be a showcase of services and technologies (for the disabled), a sum of what has been done for them and what the future holds for them in terms of accessibility,” he said. He said disabled citizens would have a chance to see the services provided and the fair would also help participants exchange views on new technologies.
Organizers say they aim to introduce visitors to technologies, commercial solutions and other services to minimize the barrier to accessing health and rehabilitation services for people with disabilities and contribute to their integration into all areas of social life.
Though social inclusion is viewed as key to improving the lives of people with disabilities, they often face obstacles in accessibility. For instance, a lack of ramps for wheelchairs and cars parked in parking spaces for the disabled or in lanes on sidewalks designated for disabled citizens hinders accessibility for many.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared 2020 as the Year of Accessibility, and the government stepped up efforts toward that goal, drafting new policies and regulations. The Ministry of Family and Social Services spearheaded the efforts, including new rules for accessibility everywhere from shopping malls, airports, and public buildings to gyms and bus terminals. The ministry also issued a new set of guidelines for the inspection of compliance with accessibility rules. Committees set up in every province monitor revisions to buildings and vehicles to ensure accessibility.