Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced a 45% increase in wages for state workers just days ahead of the May 14 general election, in which he is seeking a third term in the nation’s top post.
The government will make sure “nobody is crushed” by inflation, Erdogan said after a meeting with the country’s labor and social security ministers in Ankara on Tuesday.
“We are raising wages by 45%, including the welfare share, thus increasing the minimum wage of public workers to 15,000 Turkish lira (around $770),” he announced.
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The decision will affect the payments received by some 700,000 people this year and in 2024, according to the president.
“As Türkiye develops and grows, we share the resulting wealth with every member of our country,” he said, vowing to keep working further on increasing the minimum wage for civil servants and raising pensions.
Erdogan also thanked the rescuers and other state employees who were involved in dealing with the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people in Türkiye in early February.
The quakes, which revealed major shortcomings in the country’s construction industry and building standards, along with high inflation, are believed to be among the main reasons Erdogan is not a clear favorite ahead of the vote on Sunday.
A poll carried out by the Ankara Institute in March showed that less than 40% of those surveyed were satisfied with how the government handled the earthquake.
Inflation in Türkiye has been on the decline over the last six months but still remains high. The consumer price index (CPI) stood at 43.68% last month, almost halving since the peak of 85.51% last October.
According to various opinion polls conducted over the past few weeks, Erdogan – who has remained in power in some form for the last two decades – has been trailing behind Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu by several points.