A total of 13,260,000 people in Turkey are dependent on social aid to survive, according to data released by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat).
In 2017 there was a 13.7 percent increase in the amount of social aid delivered to citizens in need by the Turkish state, reaching TL382.6 billion.
The largest amount of social aid disbursed by the state in 2017 went to the elderly and retirees, at TL185.3 billion, followed by funds for the ill or for healthcare expenses, totaling TL103.7 billion.
Social aid expenditures totaled 12.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2017.
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which first came to power in 2002, is being criticized for making people dependent on state aid to survive in order to get their votes in elections. Many say the government should create employment opportunities for people rather than allow them to live on state aid.