Members of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Green Left Party took to the streets on Tuesday in the capital city of Ankara to protest against the worsening economic crisis and soaring price hikes.
The MPs led a march from the Parliament building to the Treasury and Finance Ministry, carrying placards with messages such as “There is plunder”, “Cut from your profit, not our throats” and “Century of price hikes”. Upon reaching the Ministry, the MPs made a brief statement.
Saruhan Oluç, the Deputy Group Chair of the Green Left Party, strongly criticised the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) People’s Alliance, holding them responsible for the severe economic damage. He pointed out that the government’s disruptive economic policies had resulted in increased deficits and price hikes. Oluç also noted that the current Treasury and Finance Minister, Mehmet Şimşek, has continued the same “irrational economic policies” that he had previously criticised.
The march, however, was more than just a protest against economic policies. It was a call to the streets, an invitation for citizens to exercise their right to peaceful protest and assembly in a country where street protests are effectively banned. Oluç urged civil society organisations, trade unions, and democratic organisations to join the struggle and use their right to democratic protest. He warned that staying silent would only exacerbate the problem of escalating prices.
In a related protest, the Van (Wan) branch of the Retirees Association (Emekli-Sen) held a press conference to express their discontent with the inflation and price hikes. The event was supported by several Green Left Party members.
Timur Sayyigit, the head of Emekli-Sen Van, criticised the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) for not reflecting the reality of workers, civil servants, and retirees in their six-month inflation rate announcement. He accused the government of deepening poverty and called for all retirees to organise under the umbrella of Emekli-Sen to fight against normalising poverty and to spread welfare.
The economic crisis in Turkey is deepening, with a staggering 98 percent of the population struggling to meet their basic needs, according to a report by the Republican People’s Party (CHP). Over 60 percent of the population, equating to 51.6 million people, are living below the hunger line.