Turkey - Social development

The social insurance system provides old age, disability, and death pensions for employees in industry, commerce, and the service sector. Special systems cover other workers. The benefits are funded by payroll taxes and employee contributions of 9% of earnings. To qualify for an old age pension, a worker must be at least 55 years old (50 for women) and must have worked at least 15 years or made contributions on at least 5,000 days' wages. Sickness and maternity benefits are also covered. Employers contribute additional funds to cover worker's injury insurance. The labor code requires employers to pay an unemployment indemnity of 30 days wages per year of employment. The Social Insurance Institution provides medical services in its own hospitals and other facilities. Turkey is a secular state and all citizens are proclaimed equal in the constitution.

The civil code explicitly bans sex-based privileges, yet proclaims the male as the legal head of the household. This grants the male the right to choose the place of residence, and most assets are held in the name of the husband. Women in urban areas are increasingly working outside the home. Women generally receive equal pay for equal work in the professions, but are underrepresented in managerial positions. Spousal abuse and violence are widespread. Authorities hesitate to intervene in domestic matters, and violence against women goes largely unreported. Reports of child abuse have increased in recent years. Kurds are the largest ethnic minority and suffer discrimination, especially in less-industrialized areas. The government is responsible for widespread human rights abuses, including beatings, torture, and killings by security forces. Freedom of speech and of the press are limited. Human rights organizations are subject to harassment and possible closure by the authorities.

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