Turkey to hand over 1,000 liras to 2.1 million families in COVID-19 support

Turkey will pay 2.1 million of the poorest families 1,000 liras ($153) each to help cope with the financial impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The payments will be made in cash from April 1, Dünya newspaper reported on Monday, citing Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk, minister responsible for family, labour and social services.

The government has widened the scope of the programme, increased financial support and speeded up the project’s implementation, the minister said. The cash will be paid out by foundations and trusts, she said.  

Turkey announced a package of economic support worth as much as 100 billion liras ($15 billion) earlier this month. Some economists and commentators have criticised the measures for focusing on businesses at the expense of employees and the country’s poorest citizens.

Selçuk said 19,000 companies had applied to the government in the past week to benefit from payments to support short working weeks for employees. All firms in the country who want to benefit from the scheme can do so, she said. Almost two-thirds of applications came from businesses working in the manufacturing, hotels and food sectors, she said.

Workers who can benefit from the scheme must have worked for the past 60 days and paid 450 days of social security premiums in the past three years, Selçuk said.

Employees can receive up to 75 percent of their net salaries with an upper limit set at 150 percent of the gross minimum wage, she said. The gross minimum wage in Turkey is 2,943 liras.