Voice of TKP, the daily podcast of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), discussed on Tuesday the unemployment rates across Turkey. According to data, the rate of unemployment increased up to 22 percent, nearly 7,5 millions of people, just before the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic were witnessed in the country.
However, as Voice of TKP indicates, 5 million more people have become unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, so the total number of the unemployed reached 12,5 millions. The broad unemployment rate is nearly 40 percent.
According to Voice of TKP, the rate of unemployment is expected to further rise considering the spread of the outbreak as the bosses tend to sack the workers or force them to unpaid leave.
TKP underlines that at least one third of the workers in Turkey receive minimum wage, which is 2,324 Turkish liras ($343) per month, as another one third of them are employed informally with pays below the minimum wage.
The number of pensioners in Turkey is 12 million. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government recently announced amid the coronavirus crisis that the lowest retirement pension would be increased to 1,500 liras ($221). However, one third of the pensioners were continuing to work in order to survive; now they will not be able to work due to the pandemic.
As Voice of TKP points, Erdoğan declared an “aid package” of 100 billion liras ($14,8 billion) to combat the outbreak. However, the pensioners’ minimum salaries will be only $221 while the people over 65 will receive cologne for free during the outbreak.
Pointing at Erdoğan’s “national solidarity campaign”, Voice of TKP notes the idea that the bosses widely contribute to the campaign with their donations is a huge lie considering that the bosses’ donations are deducted from their taxes. In other words, the rich can “donate” instead of paying their taxes.
TKP also points out that the Turkish government resorts to the model of build-operate-transfer for highways and bridges with guaranteed passage fees for private enterprises in defiance of public funds. According to this model, the government allocated a budget of 18,9 billion liras in 2020 for such guaranteed pays to private operators.
TKP underlines that only if unemployment is banned and the workers are provided with paid leave, millions of working people’s economic problems can be prevented during the pandemic instead of using public funds for the benefit of capitalists.