As the economic crisis in Turkey deepens, thousands of people are taking to the streets throughout the country protesting at price increases, especially in electricity and natural gas.
Hundreds of people gathered in the Doğubayazıt district of Ağrı on 4 February chanting slogans saying, “Take back the price increases!”
“Electricity bills are up 120% from last month,” cafe owners and shopkeepers in Turkey’s capital Ankara told MA.
“We can barely pay the rent, let alone the electricity and gas bills. We have no money left, times are hard. If this situation continues, we’ll have to close our shops,” said Nesil Çiftçi, a shopkeeper in Ankara.
Meanwhile, Bülent Pala, president of the Chamber of Electrical Engineers (EMO), stated that the bills creating outrage among the people now are actually from December, adding, “The bills that will come in February will be much higher.”
People are also sharing their bills on social media platforms and blaming the government for the prices, while in the Tatvan district of Bitlis people are burning their bills in protest at the rise in electricity and gas prices.
People also took to the streets in Hakkari province in the southeast of Turkey on 5 February, and marched to Lake Van Electricity Distribution Limited Company (VEDAŞ).
Tens of thousands of protesters chanted, “Tayyip [Erdoğan] must resign, the government must resign!” in the Kızıltepe district of the southeastern province of Mardin today, 6 February.
“I sell street food, my electricity bill is 13,600 TL. How will I pay this bill?” said a protester, and burned his bill before the cameras.
A shopkeeper in Yüksekova lit candles, saying, “I’m going to stop using electricity. I’m going to start using candles in this shop from today.”
Inflation in Turkey soared to nearly 49% in January, the highest since April 2002. In a study by the Inflation Research Group (ENAG), inflation in Turkey over the last 12 months was 114.87% . But analysts say that the real rate of inflation is much higher.
As yet no explanation is forthcoming from the government, and the protests are expected to continue in the coming weeks.