Minister: Gap between rich and poor narrows in Turkey
by Daily Sabah
Apr 29, 2014 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Apr 29, 2014 12:00 am
The number of people living below the poverty line in Turkey has decreased through government support programs for lower income citizens and economic developments
ISTANBUL — Data from the Ministry of Development shows that while income distribution is becoming distorted in many countries across the world, the gap between the rich and poor is narrowing in Turkey. Minister of Development Cevdet Yılmaz said that poverty is diminishing at a speedy pace due to rapid economic development in Turkey. "The share of the richest 20 percent in the income was 9.59 times more than the poorest 20 percent. Today, it has diminished to 7.96," said the minister.
Yılmaz said that as income distribution becomes more just, the economy will grow and poor citizens will benefit more from increasing wealth.
Together with the growth in the Turkish economy, poverty has diminished rapidly.
The number of people living on less than $4.3 (TL 9.14) a day decreased from 20 million to 1.7 million over the last 10 years. The Minister Yılmaz noted that poverty has been gradually diminishing in Turkey with regard to world average, which is obvious from the figures of state and independent watchdogs.
Yılmaz stated that poverty has gradually diminished in Turkey compared to the world average. "Eight years before, the rate of those living at or below the poverty line [TL 1,167 income for a family of four] was at the level of 13.3 percent. The rate declined to 2.3 percent in the previous year," Yılmaz added. The number of poor people living in Istanbul, Turkey's megacity with a population of nearly 14 million, also declined.
Through government support programs for lower income citizens, the number of people living at or below the poverty line in Istanbul decreased by 2.2 percent over the last eight years. "According to poverty taxes, the rate of the population living on less than $2.15 a day per capita declined to 0.006 percent.
The rate of the population living on less than $4.3 a day came up to be 2.27 percent.
The number of people who live on less than $2.15 a day was reduced from 2 million to 45,000," said Yılmaz, who added that 38.6 percent of the citizens do not have any debts or owe money on installments. Yılmaz stressed that AK Party government implements policies to reduce poverty with rising occupation facilities. "Equality of opportunity will be ensured for the poverty not to be transferred from generation to generation."
Speaking to Daily Sabah, Economist Dr.
Dündar Demiröz said Turkey saw slight progress in last 10 years according to Gini criteria which is a measure of statistical dispersion intended to represent the income distribution of a nation's residents. "However, Turkey has a long way to go when it comes to fair distrubition of income among residents," Demiröz stated. Stressing the income gap between eastern and western Turkey, Demiröz noted that Turkey looks like a country which exploits itself. "Unfortunately, after 10 years, if you draw a hypotethical vertical line from Samsun to Adana and cut Turkey into two parts, it can be easily observed that people to the east of the line live with the same standards as a central Asian country, while the people in the western part live with the same standards as a European country," he remarked. Demiröz also warned of the "middle income trap" and said Turkey should take urgent steps to boost per capita annual income beyond $11,000.
Regarding the issue, a consulting firm Ernst & Young issued a report in March, 2014 forecasting future economic performance in emerging economies, including Turkey. Ernst & Young predict that the middle-class in all of these countries is set to broaden significantly. According to Ernst & Young, the annual income of 10 million people in Turkey will exceed $35,000 in 2022.