Turkey experienced its toughest nationwide lockdown for 18 days between April 29 and May 17. Once again people stayed at home, but the financial troubles interrupted the peace at home for many working class families.
As the lockdown policies hit a blow to small scale producers and low-income service sector and workers, financial aid packages announced by the Turkish government failed to cover the losses of small business owners.
Amid such a dark financial picture, women topped the list of those hardest hit by the lockdowns.
Women living in Fiskaya District of Turkey’s southeastern province of Diyarbakır (Amed) faced poverty and hunger at home for 17 days, Jin News reports
Hediye Gül told Jin News that they had great difficulty during the lockdown. She said her husband could not work due to the closure and one of her children is disabled. ”Everyone was abandoned to their fate and bans were imposed regardless of any economic support. I cannot buy medicine for my husband and my children and I are constantly borrowing money. We could not earn a living before anyway, but with this closure, we hit the bottom even more,” she said.
Ayşe Kaya received a financial aid of 600 Turkish lira from the state per month and was trying to make a living with her two children, but she was not able to even cover even the grocery expenses. ”600 TL is not enough in this crisis. Although I do not pay rent, I cannot live on this money with my two children. People suffer from hunger and poverty. The poor cannot buy anything, if you are not rich, nobody hears your voice even if you die out of starvation,” she said.
Fatma Karlı is living with her four children and her husband is the only one who brings an income to the family. Karlı expressed that they have not been able to pay the rent for months. She was displaced from Sur district after the curfews were declared in 2015-2016, when the Turkish military sieged the Kurdish towns in Turkey, after the self-governance statements were issued by the Kurdish people.
”I was already a victim, my situation was bad, and when this closure and economic crisis began, it became very difficult to be able to get job opportunities here. God knows we suffered a lot in this period of lockdown,” Karlı said. “We do not want to be rich, we just want to live like a human being.”
“They imposed closure, but they did not bring a solution,” said Hatun Gülen, another woman who states that only the poor knew what it meant to stay home in poverty. “Who knows what has been experienced at these homes, who suffers from what and who is not able to a put a loaf of bread on their table? Who knows how difficult life is, except for the poor? Sometimes I feel like the walls of this home come in upon me.”