Turkey's Central Bank governor Erkan says struggles to find housing in Istanbul due to high rents

Turkey’s Central Bank Governor Hafize Gaye Erkan stated that the rents in Istanbul were so high that she could not find a house and moved in with her mother.

Duvar English

Turkey’s Central Bank Governor Hafize Gaye Erkan said that she moved in with her mother due to high rents in Istanbul in an interview with journalist Ahmet Hakan.

"How could Istanbul be more expensive than Manhattan,” she stated referring to her her previous workspace in the US. 

The governor, as a high-ranked civil servant, has a gross salary of 161,000 Turkish liras ($5,555) excluding additional payments, while the minimum wage in the country is 11,402 liras ($393).

Erkan suggested increasing the number of social housing units as a solution to the housing crisis and added: "One person should not have 10 houses, 10 people should have 10 separate houses.”

When asked "What is the first thing a Central Bank Governor looks at in the market,” she replied, "I look at the price of potatoes, red meat, and milk in the market. Bread, milk, and fuel have a serious impact on inflation. When I see a market selling the same product at a different price, I ask them about it."

Erkan also said that she asked questions to the apartment clerk about the market prices and they could not get along, "When I say the prices went down, he rejects. He keeps telling me to go and look at the price of onions in the grocery store.”

Average monthly rent prices have increased by 117 percent in one year in Turkey, according to a study by BETAM, an Istanbul-based think-tank. In some of the quake-hit provinces, rents have more than doubled compared to three months ago.

The Global Housing Price Index of international real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank reported that Ankara, İzmir, and Istanbul were the provinces with the highest increase in housing prices among the 150 provinces in the world with 135.3 percent, 133 percent and 127.3 percent respectively.