Over 60 percent of the population in Turkey, equating to 51.6 million people, are living below the hunger line according to a report released by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Solidarity Office on Thursday.
The report delves into the effects of the deepening economic crisis on the population and shows that an additional 32.15 million people, or 37.6 percent of the population, are living below the poverty line.
In summary, a staggering 98 percent of the population in Turkey is struggling to meet their basic needs, with 83.75 million people unable to achieve the minimum income required for a decent standard of living.
The CHP emphasised that poverty is a violation of human rights, citing the United Nations’ 2023 Sustainable Development Report, which states that the prevalence of undernourishment in Turkey stands at 2.5 percent. The party called for social assistance and policies to be formulated based on the principles of human rights.
Key points from the report include data from the World Food Programme’s Hunger Map, released in June 2022, which states that 14.8 million people out of Turkey’s population of 82.3 million are unable to consume adequate food.
The report also highlights concerning statistics related to child nutrition. According to a study from 2018, six percent of children under the age of five are stunted or chronically malnourished.
According to a 2022 study, 42.2 percent of children cannot consume dairy products like cheese and yogurt daily, while 62.4 percent have grain-based foods like bread or pasta every day. Additionally, 49.5 percent of children are unable to consume fruits daily, and a staggering 87.3 percent cannot access meat, poultry, or fish on a daily basis.
The situation is particularly dire for elderly citizens in Turkey. The report indicates that the poverty rate for the elderly population (aged 66 and above) stands at 13.7 percent as of 2019, and their labour force participation rate is a mere 12 percent.
In 2022, 99 workers aged 65 and above lost their lives while still employed, and in the first five months of 2023, an additional 36 workers in the same age group suffered the same fate.
The report also notes that there are 7,188 registered unemployed individuals aged 65 and above who are actively seeking work.
Economists forecast that before any hope of recovery, the Turkish economy would only get worse because of its structural weakness due to the government’s finance policies.