Ankara’s opposition mayor awards municipal employees first holiday premium in 25 years

The newly elected opposition mayor of the Turkish capital, Ankara, has signed off on a religious holiday bonus for municipal staff, a common practice in Turkey that had not been implemented at the Ankara municipality for 25 years.

Mansur Yavaş announced on Wednesday that civil servants at the municipality would receive a bonus ahead of the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha (the Festival of the Sacrifice), left-wing news site Artı Gerçek reported.

Yavaş, who became the mayor of Ankara on April 8, effectively ended 25 years of rule of the city by the Islamist ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its predecessors.

In the first 100 days under Yavaş’s leadership, the Ankara municipality registered a budget surplus of 136 million liras ($ 24.6 million), which has allowed it to be more generous with its employees.

Accordingly, municipal employees will receive 850 liras ($155), an amount shy of half of minimum wage in the country, ahead of Sunday’s religious holiday.

"We thought it would be proper that our employees benefit from the savings we have enjoyed since April 8," Yavaş said.

Meanwhile, union representatives said the extra pay was an important source of motivation for workers, and this was the first time civil servants had seen an Eid bonus in over two decades.