Living conditions are getting harder each day in Turkey due to the economic crisis only to be made even worse because of the coronavirus pandemic. Most people can hardly afford to pay their rent, and bills like electricity, water, natural gas and telephone.
A Mesopotamia News Agency reports about the lives of citizens living in Istanbul, who suffer due to the economic crisis. Despite working two jobs, some can still not afford their basic needs.
Shopkeepers are dejected
Özgür Ertürk is a 32-year-old shop keeper in İstanbul. He has not been able to pay his bills or rent for a long time.
“Everyone is living with debts right now, asking for a loan from either relatives or friends. This situation is going to blow up in a year. I know all the shopkeepers here and we are all in the same situation.”
Ertürk also added that he has been voting for the Justice and Development Party (AKP). However he is not pleased with his party and criticized the AKP for their Covid-19 measures.
“They say, ‘Don’t go out onto the streets, apply social distancing and wear masks’. Okay, well, how am I supposed to stay home. I have to come to work. I have to work!”
Rahim Çoban (53), who is a retired citizen trying make a living with his retirement salary of 1,500 TRY whilst paying for the mortgage on his home.
“The situation has become far worse with the coronavirus. The prices of bills we pay are far too high. Now winter has come and we have to burn natural gas. Some people have resorted to collecting bread from the rubbish bins. We even hear that some people go to bed without eating anything at all.”
We cook potatoes every day
“They pay me 2,400 TRY per month. After paying for electricity, water, and rent, there is no money left. I can not even afford basic kitchen shopping,” says a citizen named Yakup, a cleaning worker. After his shift ends in the building complex that he cleans, Yakup has to continue working on a second job. “After I am done here, I go to the square and shine shoes. Otherwise, I can not make a living, we eat potatoes every day.”
“Erdoğan has taken all the money for himself. He should give it to poor people. He ruined agriculture and animal husbandry in this country. We came to a point that the country imports tomatoes, animals, even straw. He has ruined everything,”
Mehmet Salih Doğan (52) is a grocer. He migrated from Ağrı (Agirî), a province in eastern Turkey, to Istanbul five years ago for a better life.
“We used to make good money in the past, but not anymore. We came to Istanbul thinking we would have good opportunities, but our situation has gotten worse each and every day. One of my sons is engaged, but we cannot even have his wedding due to our financial situation. We just have to wait. We say things will get better tomorrow, but nothing gets any better.”
Selma Kılıç is the mother of two, with an income of 3,000 TRY per month.”The economic crisis and the pandemic is very tough on all of us right now. After having all the bills paid, we can hardly make both ends meet. We have to cut our expenditures for our basic needs,” Kılıç said.
With half of her income going for the rent of her home, she wants her voice to be heard by the authorities.