Istanbul (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan eliminated a retirement age requirement on Wednesday in a move that allows more than 2 million workers to retire immediately, less than six months before an election.
The presidential announcement came during a Wednesday news conference on the popular policy move.
Erdogan’s ruling AK Party delivered a hefty hike to the minimum wage last week as part of a campaign to win back support eroded by inflation, a fall in the lira, and a sharp drop in living standards.
The new arrangement will benefit people who started working before September 1999, when the law regulating retirement requirements changed, and who have completed 20-25 years of social security registered working life.
Previously, the retirement age was set at 58 years for women and at 60 years for men. It was not yet clear how much the new system would cost, but Erdogan said 2.25 million people were eligible to retire immediately. There are currently 13.9 million pensioners in Turkey.
Labour groups had been protesting the minimum age requirement for several years, asking that instead workers should just be required to complete the mandatory number of work days to retire. The move is seen giving a boost to Erdogan before a critical election due in June.
In two decades in power, Erdogan has overseen a crackdown on dissent and in recent years adopted unorthodox economic policies that helped push the lira down to one tenth of its value against the dollar a decade ago.