Poverty in Turkey
As government-released figures reveal the growing issue of poverty in Turkey, the nation now classifies more than 30 million of its 79 million citizens as “in need of assistance.”

According to the research of the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions, the poverty line for a family of four has increased 11.8 percent in the past year to include a higher percentage of the population. Studies also reveal that among poor households in Turkey, 17.3 percent had three or more children under the age of 14.

While poverty in Turkey correlates with families having a surplus of children, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently spoke in the city of Eskişehir, urging his citizens to “have not just three but five children.”

Turkish families are now having large amounts of children for whom they are unable to provide. These children are raised to expect the same impoverished future as their parents, suffering major disadvantages toward attaining fundamental needs since birth, including their own personal health.

Research reveals that inflation caused by monthly increases of food prices has left families unable to provide basic meals, as 15 percent of Turkish children under the age of five now suffer from chronic malnutrition. Statistics on poverty in Turkey also show that 27.7 percent (5.6 million) children under the age of 15 live in poverty, with this rate almost doubling in rural areas to 40.6 percent.

Another study out of Diyarbakir revealed that 80 percent of children had no access to health care due to the economic constraints of their families.

In order to reverse the worsening cycle of poverty in Turkey, the Turkish government needs to recognize the negative relation between the rise in both larger families and poverty levels. Instead of urging its citizens to conceive more children, the government should address areas of true concern such as child and adolescent malnutrition.

Kendra Richardson
Photo: Flickr