HDP demands gov't to raise minimum wage to 16,250 liras

The HDP has demanded that the net minimum wage be raised to 16,250 liras amid soaring living costs. A minimum wage worker earns 8,506 liras ($360) in Turkey.

Duvar English

Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy co-chair in charge of the Economy and Agriculture Commission Rıdvan Turan on June 18 demanded from the government that the net minimum wage be raised to 16,250 liras.

In a statement, Turan said the new economic policies of the newly appointed Treasury and Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek and Central Bank head Hafize Gaye Erkan “cannot increase welfare” among working segments, and that no matter what the minimum wage is decided upon, it will not be possible to increase welfare or even preserve the current situation. 

Turan said “The Turkish economy is plagued with severe structural problems” due to both the way the country is articulated with international capital, and Erdoğan's “genius.”

“The new priority of the (government) is to prevent a currency crisis from erupting until the 2024 local elections and to postpone the crisis. The only way to do this is to attract international capital to the country with portfolio investments and to find new debts,” he added.

He noted that the government can print money to close the budget deficit, increase tax revenues which “will affect the working class and the poor, increase inflation, increase unemployment, and, contrary to the claims, deepen the inequality of income distribution.”

That’s why any increase in the minimum wage will “not provide an increase in welfare or even protect the existing one,” according to Turan.

Lastly, Turan said the net minimum wage should increase to at least 16,250 liras to be kept above the hunger threshold.

Turkey hiked the minimum wage by some 54.66% to 8,506 lira ($360) in the first month of 2023. A new hike in the minimum wage is expected in the upcoming month for the second time this year.

Although the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) announced an annual inflation rate of 39.59% in May, ENAG Inflation Research Group, an independent institution set up in 2020 to track the country’s inflation, reported the inflation rate as 105.45%.

Erdoğan appointed Mehmet Şimşek, who is highly regarded by financial markets, as Treasury and Finance Minister after the elections. The move was seen as setting the stage for a return to more orthodox policies, including rate hikes in coming months.