3 million day laborers will lose their wages during nationwide lockdown in Turkey

Photo by Youssef Mohamed on Unsplash

Nearly 3 million day laborers and small shop owners will lose their income during the latest COVID-19 lockdown in Turkey, which will go into effect tomorrow and will last until May 17, Deutsche Welle Turkish service (DW) reported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced a nationwide “full lockdown” on Monday, which means that everyone will have to stay indoors except for essential shopping trips and urgent medical treatment. However, the government has not introduced an economic support scheme for people who depend on daily wages.

Speaking to DW Samet Altu, who works at a snack bar for TL 50 a day, said he does not know how his family will survive the three weeks without an income. “Who is going to give me money if I don’t work?” he said. “Who is going to pay the rent and do the shopping?”

Several shoe shiners in southeastern Diyarbakir province also said they depended on being out in the street to earn a living. Taking in about TL 40-80 a day from shining shoes on sidewalks, they said they did not have any other income.

“If the government is enforcing a strict, month-long lockdown, they should offer us some kind of compensation,” they said.

Small businessowners also said the lockdown would have a detrimental effect on their livelihood. “The government has the responsibility to protect us,” said one snack bar owner.

Several opposition deputies argued that although the lockdown was necessary, the government should have developed an economic support scheme for people who would be out of business.

Ümit Dikbayır, a deputy from the İYİ (Good) Party, said taxpaying citizens had every right to ask for support and that it was the duty of the government to provide it to them.

Speaking to the Evrensel daily, Ercüment Akdeniz from the Labor Party (EMEP) said it was obvious the government had no such support plan. He added that not only should those affected be compensated, but they should also receive help with rent, bills and debts.

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