Hunger threshold exceeds minimum wage in Turkey

According to the July 2021 "Hunger and Poverty Line Report" of the United Metal-Workers Union Research Center, Turkey’s hunger threshold has exceeded the minimum wage and reached 2,864 liras as the poverty line was set at almost 10,000 liras.

K. Murat Yıldız / Duvar English 

The United Union of Metal-Workers’ Research Center (BİSAM) has released its "Hunger and Poverty Line Report," showing that the hunger threshold in İzmir and Istanbul exceeded 3,000 liras.

In İzmir, the minimum wage was 308 liras below the hunger threshold. In contrast, the poverty line increased by 160 liras in one month across the country, reaching almost 10,000 liras.

Noting that the number of calories required for each family member to eat healthily varies, the report noted that, “770 liras is the monthly equivalent of what an adult man needs to eat a healthy diet. For an adult woman, this value is 743 liras, for a teenager aged 15-18, the value is 817 liras, and for a child aged 4-6, it is 534 liras. The cost of a healthy diet in terms of the total family budget was calculated to be 2,864 liras. This is the required amount that the family in question must set aside solely for food expenses. Including expenses such as education, health, lodging, entertainment, heating, and transportation, a family's total spending should be around 9,906 liras per month.”

While the hunger threshold was calculated to be 2,864 liras for the rest of the country, the study noted that the hunger threshold has surpassed 3,000 liras in both Istanbul and İzmir; In Istanbul, the hunger threshold, which was below the minimum wage, increased by 55 liras in a month, while in İzmir it increased from 3,083 liras in June to 3,134 liras in July.

Hunger threshold has increased 6.3 times in 18 years

According to the report, a family of four could eat healthily for 15.2 liras per day in June 2003, but today it can eat healthily for 95.5 liras. As a result, over the course of 18 years, the hunger threshold has increased 6.3 times. Inflation increased 5.58 times during the same period. Hence, the increase in the hunger threshold was greater than the general inflation rate.

Official inflation data inaccurate

“It is obvious that the wages workers earn are insufficient to cover their living expenses as well as their access to food and other basic necessities. This disparity is widening on a daily basis. The government's official inflation rate is incorrect. As a result, the wage increases they make are insignificant and insufficient. This is a major issue,” Adnan Serdaroğlu, President of the United Union of Metal Workers, told Duvar English.

“Poverty and hunger are increasing at an exponential rate. Millions of workers, retirees, and families are struggling to make ends meet. The true extent of poverty in the country is hidden by official statistics. Millions of people living on minimum wage below the hunger and poverty line is one of the worst things that can happen to a country, and the situation is getting worse by the day. This is a disaster!” he concluded.