Last stop on road to hopelessness in Turkey .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ISTANBUL - Unemployment is swelling in Turkey, as a new report from Turkey’s Statistical Institute reveals more than 2.68 million people are now without a job.

Job seekers are facing diminishing chances to find work as the number of unemployed people keeps growing. For some, applying to Turkey’s state unemployment department, or İşKur, at least brings the chance to help make ends meet.

"I get 487 (Turkish) lira from İşKur. It is not enough, but it is something," said Kenan Çakır, 43, who was fired from Park Bravo along with 40 others almost three months ago.

Çakır said he left no stone unturned in trying to find a new job and even applied to a private Flash television channel’s program that offered jobless people new job opportunities.

Çakır is desperate about the future. "I have three children and my wife will also soon lose her job."

He said he was unskilled and many employees were looking for skilled people.

Although being skilled, having a good CV or being a university graduate used to be significant in finding a job, times are desperate and everyone is in the same boat. Elvin Altun, 28, is among the multitudes of unemployed university graduates. Pessimistic about the future, Altun said she applied to İşkur "at least to do something."

Altun, a textile engineer, said she had been unemployed for the past one-and-a-half years.

As of October, the number of unemployed reached nearly 2.68 million, according to a Turkey’s Statistical Institute, or TÜİK, report released yesterday.
People waiting in İşKur queues to receive unemployment benefits are also aware that their number is increasing.

"Our workplace was shut down a month ago. Around 70 people lost their jobs all of a sudden," said Esra Çolak, 25. She is one of the recently unemployed who applied to the Istanbul head office of İşkur in Beyoğlu’s Tophane.

"I am four months pregnant. My husband gets 700 lira a month but 500 goes for our rent," said Çolak. She said she had no hope of finding a job but thought receiving unemployment benefits, which range from 265 to 533 lira, would go some way toward making ends meet.

Leaving the İşkur building with a somber face, Suzan Yavuz said the company she was fired from was doing business in the textile industry.

"They were not paying our salaries at the right time. They fired us, but said unless we resigned, they would not pay us our salary," she said. Being jobless without getting any severance pay, Yavuz was pessimistic about her future, despite the fact that she is only 23.

Savaş Gün used to work in a leather workshop in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu district as a machine operator for two years, until he was fired. "I may get 180 lira in benefits from İşkur for six months," he said. The amount of benefits depends on how long a person previously worked in a job, said Gün.

Many of the İşKur applicants the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review spoke to said they were hoping at least to qualify for unemployment benefits. However, they would have to wait at least two months for the result of their applications. İbrahim Dikenli, 41 hurriuet