Turkey’s hunger threshold surpasses minimum wage by 3,000 liras

Turkey's hunger threshold reached 19,926 Turkish liras ($619) while the poverty threshold reached 59,353 liras ($1,845) in May, according to the Birleşik Kamu-İş labor unions confederation. DİSK reported that 190,000 more people have become poorer in the last year.

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Turkey's hunger threshold in May increased to 19,926 Turkish liras ($619) and exceeded the minimum wage by 2,924 liras ($90) according to the Birleşik Kamu-İş labor unions confederation’s research.

The hunger threshold denotes the monthly food expenditure amount that a family of four living in the capital Ankara should make in order to have a healthy and balanced diet.

The poverty threshold, indicating the total amount of food and other expenditures that a family of four should make in order to live without feeling deprived, rose by 1,148 liras in May to 59,353 liras ($1,782). 

In the first five months of the year, the hunger threshold increased by 3,443 liras and the poverty threshold by 12,368 liras.

According to the prices compiled from the most frequently shopped supermarkets in Ankara, the amount to be spent monthly on meat, fish, and eggs for a balanced diet decreased by two liras in May compared to the previous month, and increased by 2,541 liras annually to 5,995 liras.

Expenditures for milk, yogurt, and cheese rose by 160 liras from the previous month, reaching 4,545 liras, and increased by 1,774 liras over the past year. In May, the cost of fruit increased by 86 liras, totaling 1,972 liras, a 992 lira rise compared to the same month last year. Conversely, vegetable expenditure decreased by 316 liras from the previous month but rose by 768 liras year-over-year, amounting to 2,131 liras. 

Clothing and footwear expenses rose to 11,785 liras, while housing costs, including rent, reached 8,877 liras. Household goods expenditures climbed to 5,107 liras, and health expenses stood at 1,645 liras.

Transport costs surged to 12,323 liras and communication expenses increased to 1,271 liras. Entertainment and culture expenditures reached 1,213 liras, and education costs totaled 840 liras. Holiday and hotel expenses were recorded at 4,200 liras, and expenditures on various goods and services amounted to 2,166 liras.

DİSK: 190,000 more people become poorer in last year

About 190,000 more people have become poor in Turkey in the last year and the poverty rate has reached 21.7 percent, according to the "Income Inequality and Poverty Report" prepared by Genel-İş Research Department Labour Research (EMAR) affiliated with the DİSK (Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions).

According to Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) data, the number of poor increased from 18.03 million in 2022 to 18.22 million in 2023.

The report noted that income inequality has deepened and the income inequality rate in Turkey (0.433) has been quite high compared to the average of EU member states (0.366). 

According to report, Turkey has the third lowest minimum wage in Europe. Data from the EU's official statistical office, Eurostat, for 2023 indicates that Turkey, where 15 percent of workers were classified as poor, also has the highest rate of working poverty among EU countries. 

The report noted that one out of every two people in Turkey has been in debt, while the amount of consumer loans increased by 22 percent and credit card usage by 59 percent in one year.