One fifth of Turkey’s 24 million mothers living below hunger threshold – expert

Turkey is home to 24 million mothers, 4.8 million of whom are living below the hunger threshold needed to receive sufficient nutrition, the head of Turkey’s Consumer Rights Association said.

Another 14.5 percent of Turkey’s mothers live below the poverty line, Turhan Çakar told Sözcü newspaper.

Turkey’s hunger threshold is set as 2,257 TL ( $318) and the poverty line at 7,353 TL ( $1,037),  according to February figures of Turkey’s biggest trade union confederation Türk-İş. The country's minimum wage for 2020 has been set as a net 2,324 Turkish liras ($327) per month.

“The coronavirus pandemic has further obstructed matters for the mothers of our country. The number of unemployed, poor and destitute mothers have increased,’’ Çakar said.

“Many mothers are unable to cook food for their families. Both themselves and their children are unemployed,’’ he added. 

Turkey's unemployment rate increased to 13.8 percent in January compared to 13.7 percent in November, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat). The country is bracing for a further rise in joblessness due to the coronavirus pandemic, with data on how the pandemic has affected Turkey’s employment figures set to become available mid-year.

A total of 16.8 million people in Turkey depend on social aid while 21.2 percent of the country earn below the poverty rate, according to data from the Turkish Presidential 2020 Programme.