Erdogan may trim key election pledge on early retirement to minimize budget cost

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may dial down plans to offer early retirement to employees in the state and private sector because of concerns about strain on the budget, senior Turkish officials said on Thursday.

Early retirement is a key pledge ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections that will be held by June. Those original plans have been estimated to cover 1.5 million people, but now Erdogan is considering an alternative which would affect fewer employees, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Erdogan could make a decision as early as Monday during a cabinet meeting, the officials said.

The promise to meet demands for early retirement has helped Erdogan bolster his support base.

But the Turkish government is now considering a plan that would only cover about 60 percent of those eligible. The cost of the original plan, which included severance payments, could surpass 250 billion liras ($13 billion), the people said. That’s three times more than what the country’s social security system paid to about 14 million pensioners through October this year, they said.

The alternative plans would offer early retirement to the oldest employees, the officials said.

Read more: Erdogan rival Imamoglu should be convicted, banned from politics: Turkish prosecutor

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