Turkish parliament approves early retirement age for millions

Turkish parliament approves early retirement age for millions
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Turkey's Grand Assembly has unanimously approved a government plan to abolish the retirement age, paving the way for the immediate retirement of 2.2 million people

A government plan to abolish the retirement age was approved by the Turkish Grand Assembly on Wednesday in a move that allows more than 2.2 million Turkish workers to retire immediately when signed by President Tayyip Erdogan.

The important election promise Erdogan had made earlier was also supported by the opposition and unanimously ratified late Tuesday.

The government estimated the cost of the plan at about 250 billion liras ($13.4 billion) in the first year, as previously reported.

The new regulation benefits people who started working before September 1999, when the law regulating pension rights was amended, for women who have worked for 20 and men 25 years subject to social security contributions.

Previously, the retirement age was set at 58 years for women and 60 for men.

As Turkey prepares for elections scheduled for May, Erdogan has accelerated public spending, including raising the minimum wage by more than 50% and providing cheap government-backed loans to combat the cost-of-living crisis caused by inflation and the decline of the lira, which has led to a drop in living standards.

Erdogan earlier 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.