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Turkish president makes more promises in run up to referendum

In the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Wednesday that social security premiums of local authorities and security guards will be paid by the state.

Speaking at a meeting on Wednesday with 37 muhtars (local headmen), Erdoğan declared that the government will cover insurance premiums for muhtars under the scope of the new legislative decree.

“We have been able to even out salaries for muhtars with the minimum wage. Currently, our muhtars are getting 1406 turkish lira as monthly salary. We also said to ourselves that social security has a premium, and it needs to be covered. We are proud of you all, and we will resolve this issue with the first decree to be published. Premiums that withhold 613 lira will be paid by the state. In this way, out muhtars will be actually earning a 2,019 lira salary, plus their premiums.”

Muhtars are locally-appointed officials who are generally in charge of government services that are carried out in their neighborhood or village where elected. They also participate in committees such as sitting on local election committees and overlooking that proper voting procedures are followed.

Alongside muhtars, Erodğan also addressed security guards by saying the following, “I would like to take this opportunity to also give good news to our security guards. We have paid you salaries of 1411 lira, and we also make sure that our security guards are insured. Insurance premiums will be paid by out Ministry of Internal Affairs, with an insurance payment of 578 liras in addition to earnings. I think that with the support of our muhtars and security guards, they deserve this.”

Erdoğan’s promise comes ahead of the country’s constitutional referendum, which will put 18 proposed amendments to a vote on April 16. Should the referendum result in a “yes” vote, changes to the constitution would grant Erdoğan with even more executive power, transitioning away from Turkey’s current parliamentary system to a presidential system.

By Leyla Amur

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