Turkey’s poverty threshold one-third higher than minimum wage – study

The poverty threshold for an individual in Turkey is 3,408 liras ($ 581), a third higher than the country’s minimum wage of 2,324 liras ($ 396), a study by public workers’ union Kamu-Sen found.

The study found the minimum living cost for a family of four to be 6,897 liras ($ 1,176) in December 2019, almost triple the amount of Turkey’s minimum wage.

A single person who works in a minimum wage job would earn less than the starvation limit of 2,636 liras ($ 449), according to the study. 

The study also found that a family of four would spend 51 liras ($ 8.70) on food every day to meet standards set by Turkey’s medical organisations, which, according to Kamu-Sen’s study, means that a public worker with the average salary would spend 38.58 percent of their salary on food.

Another 25.22 percent would go to housing, according to Kamu-Sen’s calculation of 1,012 liras ($ 172) for rent, based on data from Turkey’s statistics institute TÜİK.

Average monthly cost of living increased by 730 liras in 2019, with public workers’ average salary increasing by 594 liras, resulting in a 3.96 percent drop in purchasing power. 

Wage increases that match the rate of inflation would in effect mean a zero-percent raise, the union said.

The data at hand points to a dire need for additional increases to salaries, Kamu-Sen Chairman Önder Kahveci said.