Turkish gov't vows to hike pensions following main opposition CHP’s promise of bonus wages
DAILY NEWS PhotoIn a counter move against the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which over a month ago vowed to give two bonus wages to around 10 million Turkish pensioners, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has also pledged a pension hike as part of its pre-election campaign.
“Pensioners receiving less than 1,000 Turkish Liras will be paid an additional 100 liras. Those who get between more than 1,000 liras and less than 1,100 liras will be paid 1,100 liras,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said at the AKP’s parliamentary group meeting on March 31. This increase will not be an additional burden on the budget, he added.
Davutoğlu’s good news for pensioners came just weeks after the CHP promised to give two extra wages to the retired.
“I address my retired brothers and sisters: You will get a bonus wage on Ramadan and the sacrifice feasts under my prime ministry,” CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said in a speech to his party members on Feb. 17.
Speaking at his parliamentary group meeting only a few hours after Davutoğlu on March 31, Kılıçdaroğlu was quick to up the ante.
“He says, ‘Kılıçdaroğlu cannot give two extra wages.’ Look at what he’s saying. I promised: ‘I will quit politics if I cannot offer two extra wages.’ That’s a Kılıçdaroğlu promise,” he said.
The CHP leader also slammed a new regulation granting a discretionary fund for the presidency, passed as part of a government-sponsored omnibus bill on March 27 despite objection from opposition parties.
He questioned where the fund would be spent and suggested that it would be used to cover up real expenditure for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s controversial new presidential palace in Ankara, which was opened in October and has around 1,150 rooms.
“I am calling on all my retired brothers. Those who begrudge you two extra wages are giving presents to people at midnight in parliament with the taxes that you have paid. We will not allow this,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Meanwhile, Davutoğlu criticized Kılıçdaroğlu for “promising to give money he does not have” and called on retired people not to be seduced by the CHP head’s promises.
“I want to share very good news for you. It’s about our retired people. But unlike Kılıçdaroğlu, who is distributing money that he does not have, ours is an act of government. We will increase pensions in July in line with inflation rates and then we will add an additional 100 liras,” Davutoğlu said.