Nov 22 2017

Turks below poverty line struggling to survive - opposition deputy

Turkish citizens earning the minimum wage are waking up each morning wondering if they have enough cash to make it to the end of the month, thanks to tax increases and the lira's slide against major currencies.

The minimum wage, currently 1,404 lira ($350) per month is below the poverty line of 1,566 lira and around 6 million people have to make do with that to pay for food, bills, education for their children and public transport. About 6 million others, without work, are becoming more and more pessimistic about ever finding a job, Selin Sayak Böke, a member of parliament for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), wrote in a column for Turkish news website T24.

About 20 million car owners are also worried about the next hike in petrol prices, which are automatically tied to the value of the lira.

Turkey's parliament began discussing legal revisions last week that increase taxes on the internet, fizzy drinks and cars. And now, the Treasury plans to transfer these taxes to the nation's sovereign wealth fund, according to a new legal measure, Böke said. In other words, to use them as a source to fund big firms and politically-driven infrastructure projects, she said.