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Turkey Raises Wages, Pension Age

July 9, 1999

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ The government today proposed raising the pay for civil servants by 20 percent and boosting the retirement age in an attempt to satisfy demands for deficit-cutting measures without creating hardships for the public.

The moves, however, appear to fall short of the expectations of the International Monetary Fund, which last week suggested it could sign a loan agreement with Turkey if the country implemented strict economic reforms.

The government Friday proposed a retirement age of 58 for women and 60 for men.

The IMF last week approved a retirement age of 62 for both women and men, but that suggestion met with strong opposition from unions that argued life expectancy in Turkey is shorter than in most European countries.

The IMF had also endorsed a government commitment for a 10 percent pay raise for civil servants, but government employees opposed the hike, saying it wasn’t enough. The minimum wage for civil servants is roughly $200 a month.

The government proposals still must win approval from parliament.

Retirement age currently is between 41 and 45 for women and between 46 and 50 for men. But people can retire as early as 38, depending on their years of service.

Turkey’s budget deficit for 1999 was expected to reach $22 billion. The Turkish pension system’s deficit is $6 billion.

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