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Saturday, July 24, 1999 Published at 11:09 GMT 12:09 UK

World: Europe

Turkish workers protest

An estimated one-hundred-thousand people have taken part in a demonstration in the Turkish capital, Ankara, against government plans for pensions and social security reforms.

The Turkish government has said it will raise the retirement age to fifty-eight for women and sixty for men, from around forty at present, as part of plans to cut budget spending.

Trade unions say this will mean some workers never reach retirement age, as the average life expectancy in Turkey is only sixty-five. The biggest labour confederation in Turkey is threatening to call a general strike if the government refuses to back down over the reforms.

A BBC correspondent in Turkey says some protestors blamed the changes on the International Monetary Fund, which has demanded pension reforms as a condition for a proposed loan to the Turkish government.

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