Amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the government of Turkey will give citizens 1,100 lira income support.
In the face of this one-time support, the Guaranteed Basic Income Saves Lives Platform has released a written statement and recommended that five million people should be provided with a monthly basic income of 2,000 lira (~240 USD) for an indefinite period of time.
The Platform has raised concerns that the government has confined millions of people to their houses without income support amid the 17-day ‘full lockdown’ imposed as part of the pandemic measures. Noting that the lockdown was imposed in an unplanned manner, it has underlined that people now have weaker bonds to life due to desperation and hopelessness.
Drawing attention to the recent increase in the number of people who take their lives in Turkey, the Platform has noted,
“If the public resources are used by prioritizing people’s needs and if the budget is not predominantly allocated to war, operations and armament expenses, a guaranteed basic income is possible. Isn’t the answer to be given by a vast majority of society to the question ‘War and hunger or peace and welfare’ obvious?”
‘Budget for basic income, not for war’
The Platform has also referred to the annual report of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) dated April 26:
“The SIPRI announced that Turkey’s military expenditures stood at 17.7 billion dollars last year despite the outbreak.
Since 2011, Turkey’s military expenditures have increased by 77 percent (the 3rd country in the world in terms of the rate of increase). Calculated based on the current foreign exchange rate, it means 150 billion lira.
On the other side, the income support provided by Turkey to its citizens due to the outbreak in the last year is only 60 billion lira, which was paid from the unemployment insurance fund and donations. This year, it will give 1,100 lira to 5-6 million families only for once, just for the show. Because of this, it has increased the corporate tax to 25 percent this year.”
‘2,000 lira to 5 million people every month’
Against this backdrop, the Platform has recommended that 5 million people should be provided with 2,000 lira as a Guaranteed Basic Income every month. Noting that 120 billion lira is necessary to give this basic income to five million people, the Platform has suggested the following method to acquire this money from the public budget:
* When military expenditures are cut by one third, there emerges a financial resource of 50 billion lira.
As for the remaining 70 billion lira;
* The tax exemptions and cuts granted to the capital holders can be reduced by 30 percent (which makes 231 billion lira a year),
* The Public Private Partnership investments can be expropriated and the payments made for this (16 billion lira will be paid only to the contractor of the City Hospital this year) can be cancelled,
* It can be afforded by a progresive fortune tax to be collected from the owners of enormous fortune.
The Platform has indicated that the number of people to benefit from the guaranteed basic income could be increased to 10 million at the second stage. It has also underlined that this practice is “not an endowment, but a right” for citizens, calling on the authorities to put this recommendation into practice immediately by prioritizing women and young people.
About the Platform
The Guaranteed Basic Income Saves Lives Platform was founded by 92 organizations in March 2021. There are several unions, faith, ecology and women’s organizations as well as several political parties, platforms and local associations under its roof, including the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK), Confederation of Public Employees Trade Unions (KESK) and Turkish Medical Association (TTB).
Making a press statement at the Parliament in April 2021, the Platform has been making various initiatives to put guaranteed basic income into practice. (HA/SD)