Statement by Turkey on the International Day of the Girl Child

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 11.10.2018
Dear Girls,
Distinguished participants,

I am very happy to be part of this gathering.

Together with Canada and Peru, Turkey is proud to mark the sixth year of the International Day of the Girl Child with this annual event.

The name of the event “Girls Speak Out” resonates what we wish and need to achieve: Indeed, speak out and speak out as loud as possible. That is to enable the participation of girls as true stakeholders in our discussions.

I thank each and every one of you for being here today and making your voices heard.

Dear Shreeya,

I listened carefully to your inspiring words that portray the importance of enabling girls’ access to education.

If we are sincere in our efforts to raise a generation that will be the successful, courageous and confident women of the future, this is exactly where we need to start.

It is only through education that we can truly prepare girls to become empowered women who not only participate in, but also assume leadership roles in all spheres of life in the future.

To achieve our aims, we must first recognize the challenge.

Education starts at home. As daughters, mothers and sisters of men, do not underestimate your power. Do not spoil your sons. Teach them not to be a man but a human being.

It is true that girls all around the world today face enormous difficulties in accessing quality education due to various reasons, including poverty, underdevelopment, conflicts, humanitarian crises or mass displacement.

Unfortunately, many of your peers around the globe do not have classrooms or teachers. We cannot allow this to be left unaddressed.

I will give you an example from Turkey.

We are now the largest refugee hosting country of the world with over 3.5 million Syrians that sought safety in Turkey from the horrors in their own country.

More than 1 million of them are children.

Our Government extended education services to Syrian girls and boys by enrolling them to public schools and temporary education centers in various provinces.

We not only address all their material needs, but also provide cash assistance for every Syrian child attending school.

I am pleased to be able to share with you that, thanks to our efforts, the schooling ratio of Syrians in Turkey has increased considerably for the school year 2017-2018, reaching 65%.

But, this is not enough.

Host countries and communities like Turkey require more resources for the education of displaced girls and boys.

Education of girls is crucial and is a shared responsibility if we want the next generations to be able to rebuild their future and countries.

Dear participants,

We also need to give a helping hand to those girls in different corners of the world who are not fortunate enough to access education.

As a case I in point, Turkey is proud to run two girls’ high schools in Afghanistan for quite some time now.

These exemplary schools that are managed by the Turkish Maarif Foundation are educating Afghan girls to become the empowered women of their communities.

Dear girls,

Before I conclude, I wish to underscore an issue that is personally very sincere to me:

That is the need to ensure and encourage more and more girls participation in education pertaining to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

This is where the future lays.

So, this is where girls can and should thrive to make a difference.

Thank you once again for your energy and brilliance.

As always, marking this day with your participation under this roof is making us very proud.