Handicapped ask gov't to make city life easier .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ANKARA - The chairman of a foundation for blind people has called on Turkish municipalities and the national government to keep their promise to improve city planning to provide better access for the blind and disabled.

"We want the municipalities to fulfill their responsibilities," said Suha Sağlam, the head of Six Dots Society for the Blind. "According to the law that came into effect in 2005, cities should be appropriately built for disabled people within seven years."

Gathering in front of the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality building on Wednesday with a group of disabled people, Sağlam said the law places the responsibility on municipalities to grant access and reduce burdens on the handicapped.

The municipalities are obliged to provide suitable conditions on streets and sidewalks and in public transportation vehicles, buildings, parks and sports and play complexes within seven years’ time, Sağlam said. "Yet there has been no improvement in the cities to make disabled people’s lives easier over the past four years."

With the support of various foundations, handicapped people have been asking for better planning of sidewalks, saying that the space for cars is being expanded every day, leaving no good places to walk. Sağlam also wants warning marks in metro and tram stations to be turned into tactile guide paths so that blind people can recognize them easily.

With the new political term that commenced after the March 29 local elections, Sağlam said a new service period has started. After announcing their demands, his group submitted their request to the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality.