Turkey increases minimum wage by 49 percent to $578

The Turkish government announced that the minimum wage was set at 17,002 Turkish lira ($578) net with a 49 percent increase. From June 20, when the old minimum wage was announced, to Dec. 27, the minimum wage eroded by $96 due to the severe depreciation of lira.

Duvar English

Turkey’s Labour and Social Security Minister Vedat Işıkhan announced that the minimum wage as of Jan. 1, 2024, will be set at 17,002 Turkish liras net, following a meeting with representatives of workers and employers at the presidential palace. 

The rate of increase to the old minimum wage of 11,402 lira ($387) was 49 percent, or a mere $191.

Işıkhan said, "With the new amount, we are pleased to have once again fulfilled our promise not to crush our employees against inflation."

Turkey’s annual inflation of 2023 peaked at 61.98 percent in November, according to the government-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) while the independent inflation group ENAG put the figure at 129.27 percent.

Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (Türk-İş) President Ergün Atalay, who sit at the table with the government on behalf of the workers in the minimum wage negotiations for 2024, said that their demand was 18,000 liras and that these negotiations should be held twice a year. "We will annotate the decision,” he noted.

Even though Turkey held minimum wage negotiations twice a year during 2023, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan clearly underscored that there would not be a second raise in 2024.

Workers and labor unions have been insisting that there should be incremental increases in the minimum wage as Turkey has been experiencing harsh inflation and depreciation of lira. 

When the minimum wage increased to 11,402 liras on June 20, it was equivalent to $483 according to then-peaked exchange rates. As of Dec. 27, it eroded by $96. 

The dollar-lira exchange rate has been approaching the figure of 29.50 lira per dollar.

Turkey’s hunger threshold reached 14,025 Turkish lira ($477) in November, $101 less than the new minimum wage, data from the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (Türk-İş) revealed. The poverty threshold reached 45,686 liras ($1,553) and hit three times the new minimum wage.