After starting in China, Covid-19 pandemic affected more countries around the world. In Turkey, the first Covid-19 case announced officially on 10th of March 2020. After the first case in short period schools, universities stopped teaching and converted their education to online system. Also midterms, final exams were converted to the online format. Most of the common activities were firstly postponed then many of them cancelled. Cafes, restaurants and shopping malls were shut down.
There has not been any curfew in every part of Turkey. In weekends and in some national holidays there was curfew in especially metropolitan cities where there had been considerable Covid-19 cases. Turkish government encouraged people to stay their home and this is called ‘voluntarily quarantined’. Flexible working was applied for government employees. Even if the demand for most goods and services decreased private sector continued to serve. The first curfew was applied for whole Turkey was declared between 23th and 26th of May which is national holiday (Ramadan).
There is not a system of Basic Income for individuals in Turkey. However, to protect individuals, employers and employees basically two financial aid programmes were implemented during Covid-19 until today. These are ‘Short-time Working Allowance’ and ‘Social Aid Programme’. In order to prevent employees losing their job, government encouraged employers by implementing short-time working allowance. Some of the conditions to benefit from short-time working allowance for employers are, not firing employees for three months and paying employees’ premium 450 days in last 3 years. The amount of short-time working allowance is approximately 60 per cent of minimum wage rate.
The second main financial aid programme implemented by the government is “Social Aid Programme”. Within this programme it was firstly aimed to give 1000 Turkish Liras (120 pounds) for 2 million households. It was announced by the Ministry of Treasury and Finance that totally 4,4 million households were paid 1000 Turkish Lira.
After summarizing the Covid-19 Pandemic and the financial aid policy of the government let me give you my personal comment. In spite of the government’s efforts for the individuals, employees and employers there are remarkable amount of people working illicitly. Unfortunately, they have lost their job. In addition, the amount of money giving to households by Social Aid Programme which is 1000 Turkish Lira cannot be enough for 3 months to keep living. Because households still had to pay their rent, water, electricity, natural gas bills to live for. Finally, in Turkey the rules and their implementations are all the time different. For example, after it is announced by the government that everybody expect under 20 and over 65 year old ones, will get medical mask for free there had been some people who could not get a mask for free. That is why, after some period I think Turkish economy will be affected negatively. I do hope, especially for under developed countries could get over the economic effects of Covid-19 and governments could realize the importance of Basic Income.