According to a new report released by the Istanbul Municipality’s Planning Agency (İPA), most people in the city are left desperate and hopeless by the state of the economy. Despite the bettering of exchange rates, most people see their economic outlooks as bleak.
This dour outlook on the Turkish economy in December comes in the aftermath of President Recep Erdoğan’s announcement of a “Currency Protected TL Time Deposit,” plan, meant to protect Turkish people’s savings and reignite Turkish finances. The TL did ostensibly rebound in the aftermath of this announcement (and the selling off of billions of dollars in reserves), but over 57% of respondents to the survey do not believe that the plan will work. Further, over 81% of respondents do not believe that prices will lower to their levels from before the Turkish Lira hit an all-time high of 18.4, despite a decrease in the exchange rate.
Other economic issues were also on the minds of Istanbul residents in December, according to the report. Some 35.4% of respondents said the most important issue of the month was high inflation and product hikes - official inflation was announced as 36.8% at the start of January - while 31.3% said they were most concerned with fluctuations in the exchange rate, and a significant portion said they were most concerned with the new minimum wage for 2022.
The report also focused heavily on President Erdoğan’s “new economic plan.” The majority of respondents did not believe it would work, while only 17.8% of respondents said for sure they thought it would be successful. A further 70.1% of respondents believed the system would primarily benefit high-income individuals.
The survey also betrayed an almost total lack of hope among the Istanbul population for the economy. In addition to the vast majority of respondents believing that prices would not decrease, the survey also showed that only 25.5% of Istanbul residents believed that the economy overall would improve, while 43.8% thought it would worsen further.
In terms of personal finances, only 22% of respondents thought their individual economic situation would improve, while 37.6% believed it would worsen.
In December, only 3.2% of people surveyed said they had managed to save money. Some 53.7% of people said they could not earn enough money to live on, while 43.1% said they just scraped by. A shocking 29.6% of respondents said they borrowed money in December.
All of this has led to record levels of anxiety and stress in Istanbul. According to the poll, on a scale of 1 to 10, the average stress level in the city was 7.8, while the average anxiety level was 7.5. Levels of happiness and life satisfaction were extremely low - 4.8 and 4.3, respectively.