As Turkey’s wage earners find it increasingly difficult to make ends meet amid the country’s economic woes, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is seeking a second pay raise for himself this year, 40.4 percent this time, an opposition lawmaker has announced.
The last time Erdoğan got a raise was in January, when his monthly salary went from TL 88,000 ($5,000) to TL 100,750 ($5,700), a 14.4 percent increase.
With the expected second pay raise, which was submitted to parliament as part of a supplementary budget, Erdoğan’s salary will increase to TL 141,453 ($8,100), equivalent to 33 minimum wage salaries, according to a tweet from Özgür Özel, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy parliamentary group chair.
The minimum wage in Turkey is currently TL 4,253 ($244).
“Does the economic crisis, which affects the president, not affect minimum wage earners? Will minimum wage earners have to live on TL 4,253?” Özel asked.
Recent increases in food and utility prices continue to cripple the purchasing power of Turks as yearly inflation reached a record level of 73.5 percent in May, up from 69.9 percent in April, the highest level of inflation since 1998.
Critics blame the country’s economic woes on Erdoğan’s unorthodox economic policy of pushing for lower interest rates to combat price rises.
The central bank refused again last month to raise its main rate, keeping it at 14 percent.
The lira has been the worst performer among emerging markets for several years due largely to investors’ concerns about economic and monetary policy under Erdoğan’s government, leaving households financially strained ahead of elections set for mid-2023.