A report by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP)’s Poverty Solidarity Office has revealed that 51.6 million people in Turkey are living below the hunger line, the ANKA news website reported on Thursday.
June 2023 data from the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (Türk-İş) show the hunger line, which refers to the amount a family of four has to spend on basic food expenses, to be TL 10,373 ($386).
The report, released on Thursday and titled “No Progress in Sustainable Development Goals,” exposed the effects of the deepening economic crisis in Turkey on the population, ANKA said.
According to the report, 98 percent of the population in Turkey, or 83 million people, live below the hunger and/or poverty line, with 51.6 million (60.4 percent) under the hunger line.
The poverty line, which also includes the cost of rent and utilities for a family of four, is TL 33,789 ($1,257).
The report also cited data from the United Nations’ 2023 Sustainable Development Goals Report regarding the second goal, Zero Hunger, and said the rate of malnutrition in Turkey is 2.5 percent, while the prevalence of stunting (low height for their age) in children under the age of five is 5.5 percent.
The CHP’s report also referred to HungerMap, a near real-time food security monitoring system of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) that revealed in June 2022 that 14.8 million people were experiencing insufficient food consumption in Turkey.
The report also included two “urgent recommendations” to change the situation in Turkey for the better.
“The free meal program should be urgently initiated at all levels of education (primary, secondary, high school and university). The Maternal Food Support Package program should be expanded,” the CHP office said.
Over the past several years Turkey has been suffering from a deteriorating economy, with high inflation and unemployment, as well as a poor human rights record. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is criticized for mishandling the economy, emptying the state’s coffers and establishing one-man rule in the country where dissent is suppressed and opponents are jailed on politically motivated charges.
The lira, which traded at 26.9 to the US dollar on Thursday, has weakened 30 percent so far this year.