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Main opposition party leader’s support for regional minimum wage ignites debate

Main opposition party leader's support for regional minimum wage ignites debate Main opposition party CHP leader Ozgur Ozel in party HQ in Ankara, Türkiye on July 4, 2024. (AA Photo)
By Newsroom
Jul 8, 2024 2:25 AM

As workers face diminished purchasing power in an inflationary environment, there is a growing expectation for an increase in the minimum wage. However, President and AK Party Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently dismissed the possibility of a July raise. Meanwhile, a debate has erupted within the main opposition party CHP, regarding the regional minimum wage. CHP leader Ozgur Ozel’s support for the regional minimum wage has sparked controversy within the party, with some members claiming, “This is turning Türkiye into China.”

Last week, with the confirmation of six-month inflation figures, adjustments for pensions and civil servant salaries were determined. However, expectations for a modest increase in the minimum wage were quashed by Erdogan’s statement on a flight back from Kazakhstan.

In a conversation with journalists, Erdogan said, “Our biggest problem is the high cost of living. The most unfair tax is inflation. Therefore, the greatest favor we can do for our low-income citizens, our minimum wage earners, and our retirees is to bring inflation back down to single digits in a permanent way without resorting to populism, and to permanently increase our citizens’ standard of living.”

While the opposition, led by the CHP, has been calling for an increase in the minimum wage, an unexpected debate on the regional minimum wage has emerged within the CHP. In a recent interview, CHP General Chairman Ozgur Ozel expressed support for the regional minimum wage, stating, “We find it appropriate. In fact, we also view the sectoral minimum wage positively from the state’s support perspective, but it needs to be very well regulated.”

According to a report by Duvar Newspaper, Ozel’s remarks have caused significant surprise within the party. Some party members criticized the proposal, arguing, “The regional minimum wage opens certain regions of Türkiye to exploitation for the benefit of capital interests. It means turning Türkiye into China. This can never align with our policies.”

Sources indicate that the issue was also discussed at the party’s most recent Central Executive Board meeting. It was clarified that the statement was a misunderstanding and that there was no change in the party’s policy in this regard.

Last Updated:  Jul 9, 2024 1:35 AM