Turkey’s Bold Move to Protect Workers in Earthquake-Hit Areas: Ban on Layoffs and Salary Support
On Wednesday (February 22), Turkey implemented measures to protect workers and businesses in 10 cities affected by the recent massive earthquakes in the south of the country. These included a temporary wage support scheme and a ban on layoffs. The government aims to minimize the financial impact of the disaster, which caused tens of thousands of deaths and is the worst earthquake in Turkey’s modern history.
Country in the Middle East
- President: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Trending
- Capital: Ankara
- Currency: Turkish lira
- Population: 8.48 crores (2021) World Bank
- Continent: Europe, Asia
- Official language: Turkish
Employers whose workplaces were “heavily or moderately damaged” would benefit from support to partially cover wages of workers whose hours had been cut, the country’s Official Gazette said on Wednesday. Additionally, a ban on layoffs was put in place in the 10 provinces affected by the state of emergency.
The Turkish Parliament imposed a state of emergency for three months on February 7, following a request from President Tayyip Erdogan. This was the second time such measures were implemented, with the first being in 2020 to help cope with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Economists and business groups predict that the earthquake could cost up to $100 billion for Ankara to rebuild housing and infrastructure. They also estimate that it could cause a one to two-percentage-point decrease in the country’s economic growth for the current year.
Visa on arrival for the NDRF team
Turkey has lifted visa restrictions and will issue visas on arrival for National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams from India that are being sent to assist with earthquake relief efforts. On the other hand, Pakistan, a key partner of Turkey, was unable to deploy its disaster response force in the affected area due to a shortage of vehicles.
To aid the Turkish authorities in relief operations, India launched Operation Dost and sent teams from NDRF and the Indian Army. The first team left at around 3am on February 7th.
This month has been particularly devastating for Turkey, as it has experienced back-to-back earthquakes. According to reports, on February 20th, another earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 hit the country, killing three people and injuring hundreds. This time, the earthquake was centered near the southern Turkish city of Antakya and was felt in Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon.
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