8 million pensioners in Turkey live on or below hunger line

Eight million pensioners in Turkey earn a monthly wage of 2,500 Turkish Liras, almost half the hunger line of 4,553 liras, with many of them looking for jobs or moving in with their families as costs of living surge and their incomes melt away.

Duvar English

Eight million pensioners in Turkey either live on or below the “hunger line” and the rest lives in poverty, according to a report by Cumhuriyet newspaper.

There are eight million pensioners that earn a monthly 2,500 Turkish Liras, according to figures obtained by the Social Security Institution (SGK), nearly half the “hunger line” declared by labor union Türk-İş, which set the line at 4,553 liras monthly as the cost of living for basic food only for a family of four. There are a total of 13.6 million pensioners in Turkey.

Figures from the Turkish Employment Organization (İŞKUR) have shown that there are 204,473 people aged 50 and above who have applied for jobs through the agency.

The poverty line was set at 15,140 liras, which includes the cost of living for shelter, transportation and bills.

“Pensioners do not even have the income to buy their basic food needs,” pensioners’ union Emekli-Sen chair Cengiz Yavuz said.

“What will 2,500 liras be enough for? This is against human rights. Today, in Ankara, the cheapest rent begins at 2,500 liras,” he added.

A 25 percent raise in pensioners’ wages introduced at the start of the year “melted the moment it was introduced,” he said.

There are 7 to 8 million pensioners who would work, but the country suffers from high youth unemployment and no employer would give them jobs when they could give them to younger people, Yavuz said.

Over 12 million pensioners are buried in debts and the increasing costs of living have forced many of them to move in with their children and families.