By Servet Gunerigok
WASHINGTON (AA) - Turkey has achieved progress in eradicating poverty, reducing inequalities and addressing the needs of vulnerable groups, a senior official said Monday.
Speaking at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at UN headquarters, Naci Agbal, the head of Turkey’s Strategy and Budget Directorate, said "fundamental steps" helped Turkey make that progress.
“Turkey is among the top performers in eradicating poverty,” said Agbal. “Pro-poor policies in employment, social security, education, health and housing have significantly contributed to this outcome.”
Agbal, who is a former finance minister, said Turkey has been pursuing a human-centered development approach and has also made progress in providing better quality, more accessible public services, particularly in education and health.
"Policies to reduce disparities in inter-regional infrastructure and promote technological advancements marked an inclusive development pathway," he added.
He said almost 40% of Turkey’s population is under 24 years old, highlighting that children and youth constitute the largest potential for Turkey’s development.
“With significant measures taken to increase access to education, net schooling rates at all levels of education have substantially grown.
“Increasing the quality of education will continue to be our main priority until 2030,” he said.
Agbal also said Turkey attaches great importance to renewable energy resources to reduce import dependency and curb greenhouse gas emissions.
"A significant increase has been achieved in the share of renewables in electricity supply," said Agbal, without elaborating.
On the 3.6 million Syrians living in Turkey, he said the country has generously responded to the influx of Syrians since the 2011 civil war.
“We provided temporary protection status for them, which ensures easy access to public services such as health, education and social protection,” Agbal said.
“They are free to attend the labor market and also receive various social assistance benefits financed through national and international funds,” he added.