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Turkey's poverty figures look bad for ruling AKP

Turkey’s ruling party, under opposition fire for failing to combat poverty, took a fresh blow in the run-up to elections as official statistics put 22.4% of Turkish households below the poverty line.
A woman holds a child as she begs for money near Taksim Square in Istanbul June 19, 2013.  REUTERS/Marko Djurica (TURKEY - Tags: SOCIETY POVERTY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX10SP4
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With only weeks to go before Turkey’s June 7 elections, opposition parties are heavily focusing on economic problems and social welfare, generating huge voter interest and pushing the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to the defensive for the first time.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party has cornered the AKP with a series of promises targeting the popular masses, including a hiked, tax-free minimum wage of 1,500 Turkish lira ($561) per month and two bonus pension payments per year for about 11 million retirees. The two other main opposition forces, the Nationalist Action Party and the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party, are campaigning on similar platforms targeting workers, farmers and retirees.

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