Turkish opposition leader slams Erdoğan for requesting 40% pay hike

Meral Akşener, the leader of the opposition Good Party (IP), criticised President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for requesting a pay hike of 40 percent.

“He can’t make ends meet. He can’t survive,” Akşener said in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ on Wednesday during a visit to local tradesmen, according to the Diken news website.

Erdoğan’s salary will increase to 141,453 liras ($8,143) per month, according to a supplementary budget presented to parliament, Diken said. Together with an increase in pay in December, Erdoğan’s salary will have risen by 61 percent from the 88,000 liras per month he earned in 2021.

“We are retirees. We can't buy meat, we're sick, we can't go to the doctor,” said one person in a crowd who welcomed Akşener. “Where is Tayyip Baba? Please, we are dying now, save us.”

Turks are suffering from a decline in disposable income after inflation surged to an annual 73.5 percent and the lira slumped against the dollar. The lira lost 44 percent of its value last year and has dropped by more than 20 percent in 2022. The government hiked the minimum wage and pensions in December, but the increases have failed to keep pace with price rises, which are the highest in more than two decades.

“The president has a lot of problems,” Akşener said. “He has advisers who are earning five salaries, there are advisers with 11 salaries. Now he is making a 40 percent increase in his own salary, and he can't get by. He can't live on 140,000 liras, what should he do?”

Erdoğan, who is suffering a decline in public support due to Turkey’s economic troubles, must call presidential and parliamentary elections by June next year. Inflation has gained pace after he ordered the central bank to cut interest rates late last year.

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