Turkey Tradesmen and Artisans Confederation (TESK) chairman Bendevi Palandöken sent a letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan containing eleven requests geared toward helping tradesmen and artisans who are struggling economically.
TESK represents 2.5 million tradesman and artisans in Turkey. Small business owners, shopkeepers and craftsmen have been hit particularly hard amid economic woes that only worsened following the coronavirus pandemic, which spread to Turkey in March.
One demand stipulated that tradesmen who have taken out lines of credit be given an additional three months to repay the loans with the condition that the treasury will cover their interest.
Another called on the government to cover the social security premiums for the employees of tradesmen and artisans until the end of the year.
TESK said that basic food products and cleaning supplies should not be taxed, or the tax should be lowered to one percent.
The confederation called on tradesmen and artisans who have opened their businesses within the past years to receive direct cash support from the government, and it requested that coffeehouses that have abided by the requisite hygiene standards to be once again allowed to have their customers sit and play board games, a common past-time in cafes all over the country for retirees and the unemployed.
In Palandöken’s letter, he also referenced a regulation that seeks to raise the penalty for convenience stores selling alcohol between 10PM and 6AM from 51,600 TL to 65,320 TL. Though it is illegal to purchase alcoholic beverages from retail stores between those hours throughout Turkey, many shops ignore the ban and continue to sell at the great risk of a large fine as their best business often occurs during that time of the evening.