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Poverty line surpasses 41,000 lira, approaches quadruple the minimum wage

Turkey inflation

Customers shop for vegetables at a bazaar in İstanbul on September 6, 2022, as Turkey's economy is suffering its biggest economic crisis in decades. (Photo by Yasin AKGUL / AFP)

Turkey’s poverty line, which refers to the total amount a family of four needs to live without feeling deprived of food and the money required to pay other expenses such as rent and utilities, has risen to 41,626 lira ($1,541), as millions in the country struggle to get by on a minimum wage of 11,402 lira ($422), according to data released by the research unit of the United Metal Workers Union (BİSAM), an affiliate of the Revolutionary Workers Confederation (DİSK).

In August the amount needed for a family of four to maintain a healthy and balanced diet — referred to as the hunger line — also increased, reaching 12,034 lira ($445), BİSAM reported on Friday. The organization determines the poverty line based on various factors including education, health, housing, entertainment, heating and transportation costs, representing the necessary expenditures a family incurs to avoid deprivation.

Breaking down the monthly costs of necessary goods for different demographic groups, the report noted that adult males require 3,301 lira, adult females 3,145 lira, teenagers between 15 and 18 years 3,391 lira and children aged between 4 and 6 years 2,197 lira to sustain a healthy and balanced diet.

This latest data mark an increase from July’s figures, where the hunger and poverty lines were documented by BİSAM at 11,525 lira and 39,886 lira, respectively. It offers insight into the climbing cost of living Turkish families face, highlighting a persistent trend of economic hardship in the nation.

Inflation has become a pressing issue in Turkey, reaching an annual rate of 58.9 percent in August, according to official data.

Over the past several years the country 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.

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