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Poverty line in Turkey exceeds 44,000 lira, nears quadruple the minimum wage

Turkish economy

Customers walk in İstanbul’s Spice Bazaar on Sept. 6, 2022, as Turkey was suffering its biggest economic crisis in decades and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan faced a tough re-election bid. (Photo by Yasin AKGUL / AFP)

Turkey’s poverty line has risen to 44,718 lira ($1,560), as millions in the country struggle to get by on a minimum wage of 11,402 lira ($397), according to data released by the United Metal Workers Union (BİSAM), an affiliate of the Revolutionary Workers Confederation (DİSK).

The poverty line 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.

In October the amount needed for a family of four to maintain a healthy and balanced diet — referred to as the hunger line — also increased, reaching 12,928 lira ($416), BİSAM reported on Wednesday. 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 3,538 lira, adult females 3,387 lira, teenagers between 15 and 18 years 3,639 lira and children aged between 4 and 6 years 2,365 lira to sustain a healthy and balanced diet.

This latest data marks an increase from September’s figures, where the hunger and poverty lines were documented by BİSAM at 12,612 lira and 43,623 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 61.3 percent in October, 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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