Turkey’s small businesses: We don’t want loans, send cash

Turkey’s broad unemployment gauge climbed to 24.5-30%, according to two noted economists, Dr Ali Orhan Yalcinkaya and Mahfi Egilmez.  Most of the recently unemployed hail from the ranks of small service businesses, which suffer from weak domestic demand.  A recent survey by Istanbul Economic Research revealed 66% of the respondents being afraid of Covid-19, which in other countries translate to voluntarily sheltering at home and lower consumption.  Turkey’s thousands of owner-operated markets, butchers and grocery stores are rapidly running out of cash to stay in business.  TESK, the confederation which represents the had to finally ask President Erdogan for cash aid.

Turkey Tradesmen and Artisans Confederation (TESK) sent a letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan containing eleven requests geared toward helping tradesmen and artisans who are struggling economically. TESK represents 2.5 million tradesman and artisans in Turkey.

One demand stipulated that tradesmen who have taken out lines of credit be given an additional three months to repay the loans with the condition that the treasury will cover their interest.

Another called on the government to cover the social security premiums for the employees of tradesmen and artisans until the end of the year.

‘Broadly defined unemployment in Turkey at 39 percent’

TESK said that basic food products and cleaning supplies should not be taxed, or the tax should be lowered to one percent.

The confederation called on tradesmen and artisans who have opened their businesses within the past years to receive direct cash support from the government, and it requested that coffeehouses that have abided by the requisite hygiene standards to be once again allowed to have their customers sit and play board games, a common past-time in cafes all over the country for retirees and the unemployed.

In Palandöken’s letter, he also referenced a regulation that seeks to raise the penalty for convenience stores selling alcohol between 10PM and 6AM from 51,600 TL to 65,320 TL. Though it is illegal to purchase alcoholic beverages from retail stores between those hours throughout Turkey, many shops ignore the ban and continue to sell at the great risk of a large fine as their best business often occurs during that time of the evening. 

TESK ad its “chairman for life” Mr Palandoken had been staunchly pro-AK Party for a long time.  In as much as the 11 request are expressed politely, it is clear that  Turkey’s typically conservative artisans and small shopkeepers are giving up hope on AK Party rescuing them.

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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.