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Turkey’s hunger threshold reaches minimum wage

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A labor union study put Turkey’s hunger threshold for March at TL 16,793 ($523), slightly below the minimum wage of TL 17,002, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (TÜRK-İŞ).

According to the study, the hunger threshold was TL 16,793 for a family of four, while the poverty line was TL 54,700 ($1,705), more than three times the minimum wage, for the same average household.

In the study, the hunger threshold is defined as the amount of money that a family of four living in the capital city of Ankara needs to spend for healthy and balanced nourishment, while the poverty line takes into account other expenses such as clothing, housing (rent and utilities), transportation, education and health.

The study showed that food prices went up 3.29 percent in March compared to the previous month and 75.09 percent over the same month last year.

“The increase in the price of basic goods and services negatively impacts [people’s] finances,” the labor union said. “The purchasing power of wages continues to go down every month.”

TÜRK-İŞ also said the increase in food prices came despite pre-election discounts advertised on the occasion of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that began in early March.

The current minimum wage was announced in late December by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security.

Turkey is known for its relatively high percentage of the workforce making the minimum wage. Labor unions estimate that roughly half of workers earn a wage similar to the minimum wage.

The country also has a significant informal sector, with many people working jobs unofficially.

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