Turkey scores lowest in Europe in income inequality

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Turkey has scored 33.5 points, the lowest in Europe, on the 100-point scale of the Inequality Index produced by the London-based World Economics, the Sözcü daily reported on Wednesday.

Turkey is behind not only developed countries but also those such as Bolivia, Morocco, Senegal and Gabon in the ranking, where Slovenia received 61 and Finland 56.1 points, Sözcü said, adding that the other two countries that have the same score as Turkey were Papua New Guinea and the Dominican Republic.

“When the league of inequality is examined, it seems that Turkey’s only rival in income inequality is Argentina and African countries,” Sözcü said.

According to the index, the UAE (58.7), Yemen (41.7), Qatar (34.8), Israel (38.1), Jordan (46.5) and Lebanon (49.5) have higher scores than Turkey, with the only Middle Eastern country that scored lower being Saudi Arabia (27.1).

The World Inequality Report 2022, released by the World Inequality Lab at the Paris School of Economics, also showed that the bottom 50 percent, middle 40 percent and top 10 percent held 4 percent, 29 percent and 68 percent of the total national wealth in Turkey last year, respectively.

The report further revealed that the female labor income share in Turkey was 23 percent, a figure higher than those of the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), where women earn on average 15 percent of the total, but lower than neighboring European countries including Greece (37 percent) and Bulgaria (43 percent).

The latest data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), which does not reflect the effects of inflation that soared to 70 percent in April, show that the richest 10 percent owns 31.5 percent of all wealth, while the poorest 10 percent receives just 2.3 percent of the total income in Turkey.

A brief by Oxfam titled “Profiting From Pain” revealed earlier this week that some 573 people became new billionaires during the pandemic, at the rate of one every 30 hours, while 263 million more people are expected to fall into extreme poverty this year, at a rate of a million people every 33 hours.

Over the past several years Turkey has been suffering from a deteriorating economy, with high inflation and unemployment, as well as a poor human rights record. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is criticized for mishandling the economy, emptying the state’s coffers and establishing one-man rule in the country where dissent is suppressed and opponents are jailed on politically motivated charges.

Turkey’s financial troubles have increased since the country was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a sudden surge in the number of suicides and closed businesses.

The country is currently in the middle of an economic crisis as food and fuel prices have more than doubled in the last few months. An increasing number of Turks have complained on social media about rising electricity bills and falling into debt. Many have said even basic foods such as vegetables have become a luxury as prices have risen by nearly 400 percent.

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