The gap between Turkey’s minimum wage and the famine threshold has almost entirely disappeared amid the collapse of the Turkish lira and soaring inflation, according to a report compiled by the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (Turk- Is).
The January Turk-Is Hunger and Poverty Line survey, originally reported by bianet, found that the monthly food expenditure of a family of four to achieve a healthy, balanced diet – a measure starvation line – were 4,249 Turkish Liras (TRY) ($319), just a few liras below the minimum wage rate of 4,253 TRY ($320). The survey also calculated that the “cost of living” for a single employee rose to TRY 5,587 ($417).
According to some measures, which challenge the official line that Turkey’s annual inflation was 36% at the end of the year, the country’s annual inflation rate at the end of December was over 80% and heading to three digits. The Istanbul Research Group (ENAG) calculated 83%. Analysts describe the Turkish economic crisis as one of the consequences of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan, citing unorthodox economic thinking, stubbornly refuses to greenlight higher interest rates in the face of soaring prices and a heavily depreciated lira. The currency lost 44% against the dollar last year. Queues for cut-price bread by local authorities have become a regular sight in Turkish cities.
“The lira loses value again”
In its report, the confederation noted that “even though there was a sharp drop in exchange rates following the introduction of the exchange-protected Turkish lira deposit system in December, the lira started to lose weight again. the value”.
Referring to an “almost 25% increase in food prices over the last month following record exchange rates”, Turk-Is said that “the appreciation of the Turkish lira had almost no effect positive in markets and bazaars”.
“Due to rising prices for fuel oil, electricity, natural gas and public transport, it has become all the more difficult for workers and their families, whose main and usually only source of income is the minimum wage, to make the ends meet the minimum wage,” he added.
Erdogan announced on December 16 that the minimum wage would be raised by 50%, but the rise will add to inflation and if price growth continues upwards on its steep trajectory, the value of the wage hike will soon be wiped out.
The leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu on February 1 called for unity to overcome the “difficult days” facing Turkey, Hurriyet reported.
“We have difficult days. We are going through difficult circumstances together. We want and we must overcome together; we must win,” he said at a meeting of the CHP parliamentary group, adding: “The way to win is to be united, to be together, to meet in justice, to love and to embrace each other, not to marginalize anyone and to build a Turkey where everyone lives in peace.