‘Turkish people forgot what it’s like living in a social state,’ says CHP leader
Turkey is suffering from inequality in income distribution and has forgotten what a social state is like, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said.
“Everybody living in this country has the right to claim pension. But they need to pay premiums to the Social Security Institution [SSK]. The minimum amount of a monthly premium is 754 Turkish Liras [around $144]. I leave to your discretion how huge of an amount 754 liras is for street vendors,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at a workshop focusing on the living and working conditions of street vendors.
The party leader claimed that “corrupted businessmen” too were paying the same amount of premiums to receive pensions.
“The person who sells simit [Turkish bagel] on the streets and the person who enters billion dollar tenders will both pay 754 liras. How is that fair? Where is the social state in that?” said Kılıçdaroğlu, stressing peddlers and street vendors were struggling to pay the insurance premiums due to their low incomes.
“We all need to acknowledge this: 90 percent of street vendors do not have social security because they cannot afford to pay monthly premiums of 754 liras. They are already struggling to make ends meet,” he added.
Kılıçdaroğlu stressed that the income gap between the rich and poor in Turkey is “enormous.”
“Turkey is actually not a social state. We have forgotten the concept of the social state. We have such serious setbacks and major gaps between incomes that we are unable to inform our citizens on what a social state is,” he added.
The CHP leader also referred to a Constitutional Court verdict to define the social state and said it is one in which “precautions are taken to distribute the national income equally and provide the right social security to its citizens.”
It is a Constitutional Court ruling that does not comply with Turkey’s realities, he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also stressed that there are around six million street vendors in Turkey who meet the daily and instant needs of the “culturally deprived.”
“We also have forgotten how to claim our rights. What will happen to these people tomorrow? Let’s say a million out of six have earned the right to pension, what will the other five million and their families do?” the leader said.
“Social insurance is not complete if there is no family insurance. The family needs to have insurance,” he added.