World Bulletin / News Desk
The Turkish government has begun to implement new incentives it hopes will promote higher rates of childbirth as a measure against the country's ageing population, a fact that has become more apparent in recent years.
The debate over an ageing population appeared on the country's agenda around two years ago when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan began to advocate that families have at least three children. Since then, Erdoğan has repeatedly at any opportunity encouraged families to have more children. By doing so, the prime minister hopes to combat the adverse effects of an ageing population, including an insufficient workforce and rising welfare spending.
The government set to promote the “three children project,” consisting of various incentives, after the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) published demographic figures in January showing a drop in the rate of population growth from 1.3 percent to 1.2 percent.
Speaking during a press conference in Ankara on Thursday, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said the government is preparing to introduce new incentives for families with three or more children. Şimşek stated that strong population growth is an important factor in the improvement of the Turkish economy.
Meanwhile, the minister of Labor and Social Security, Faruk Çelik, told reporters on Friday that maternity leave has been extended from 16 weeks to 24 weeks. The minister said employers will be prohibited from replacing women who are out on maternity leave, a measure against the possibility that long maternity leave might reduce the rate of female employment in the country.
Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Şahin also announced late last year a project to provide fertility treatment to 2,500 families who currently had no children and were not eligible for state health insurance.
A report on the current makeup and future of Turkey's demographics was released by TurkStat this month. According to the report, Turkey, which currently has the world's 18th largest population, is expected to fall to 20th place by 2050.
The report released on Thursday predicts that Turkey's population will reach 84.2 million by 2023 and 93.4 million by 2050, but will decline to 89 million by 2075. It is also expected that Turkey will fall to 20th place among the most populated countries by 2050 and to 24th place by 2075.Last Mod: 15 Şubat 2013, 17:38