Huseyin Goksoy, a tailor, became so stressed about going hungry during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic that he was briefly bedridden with a hernia.
Now, he is increasingly worried about his future as Turkey struggles to curb poverty and he is not alone.
Four million Turks rely on state aid to get by despite the nation’s two-month lockdown ending in June.
A growing number of informal workers missed out on the majority of the financial support.
Polls and academic research paint a grim picture ahead of the day when President Tayyip Erdogan's government is expected to lift a temporary ban on layoffs, possibly as soon as November.
Goksoy, 48, makes face masks to help cover losses from earlier this year when he could not get a subsidized small-business loan because there was no guarantor in his conservative neighborhood in central Istanbul.
"People don't get dressed up when they don't work, so I only repaired tears and it was 5-10 liras ($1) a day — if that," he said. "I still can't send money to my kids when they want it. If I do a bad job, I'd go hungry."
Data and polls show that fear and disillusionment like this are unprecedented across the labour market.