Turkey's new minimum wage of 4,250 liras has failed to satisfy workers and the opposition amid the bleeding lira.
Turkey hiked its minimum wage by 50% to 4,250 liras per month to address a currency crash and inflation spike, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Dec. 16.
The dollar value of the minimum wage has decreased in less than 24 hours, from $275 to $265, in line with the lira's loss of value.
The dollar value of the 2021 minimum wage - some 2,825 liras monthly - has tumbled to $175 from $380 at the start of the year due to the currency crisis, Turkey's second in four years.
Erdoğan, however, doesn't accept calculating the dollar value of the minimum wage.
"Our currency is known, and it is the lira, and we will not let it be swallowed," he said.
"The understanding to calculate minimum wage in dollars by looking into the previous period is nothing more than abusing the employer and the employee," the president added.
Following Erdoğan's announcement, Treasury and Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati said that the government didn't make those earning minimum wage be crushed under inflation.
"The minimum wage increase is way higher than inflation," Nebati said on Dec. 16, although food prices are skyrocketing and inflation is at record highs.
Sayın Cumhurbaşkanımız tarafından açıklanan asgari ücret hayırlı olsun. "Asgari ücretliyi enflasyona ezdirmeyeceğiz" dedik, 19 yıldır ezdirmedik, şimdi de ezdirmiyoruz.— Dr.Nureddin NEBATİ🇹🇷 (@NureddinNebati) December 16, 2021
Cumhurbaşkanımız, enflasyonun çok üstünde, %50'lik artışla asgari ücreti açıklamıştır. #TeşekkürlerErdoğan pic.twitter.com/w9uY7XSNeb
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Group Deputy Chair Engin Altay has said that the minimum wage should have been set as 5,955 liras. Currently, a minimum wage worker lost 30 percent of their income in dollar value, he said.
"This country owes workers. It's impossible for us to be happy about this amount. The reality is out there," Altay said.
Müsavat Dervişoğlu, the right-wing Good (İYİ) Party's group deputy chair, said that the wage should have been above 5,000 liras, considering that the hunger threshold for a family of four is 3,194 liras and the poverty line is 10,396 liras.
"This is not a minimum wage that would meet the expectations," he said.
Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Group Deputy Chair Saruhan Oluç said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) indirectly accepted that the real inflation is 50 percent. He also voiced his concerns about employers firing employees because of the price hike.
"This should be stopped. Employers should be prevented from doing that," Oluç said.
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar also commented on
Bir lütufmuş gibi sunulan yeni asgari ücret işçilerin derdine deva olmayacak. İnsan onuruna yaraşır bir yaşam için bu artış yetmez. Acil ihtiyaç; asgari ücreti 6.000 TL’ye yükseltmek, işten çıkarmaları yasaklamak, gelir kaybını önleyecek tedbirler almaktır. #asgariücret— Mithat Sancar (@mithatsancarr) December 16, 2021
Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK), meanwhile, called on those boasting about the increase in the minimum wage to live with it for a month.
"It's impossible to make ends meet with this minimum wage!" DİSK said.