Several citizens on Feb. 20 came together in Istanbul's Kadıköy district and held a demonstration in protest of massive price hikes.
Protesters unfurled banners reading "Take the raises back" and chanted slogans of "Budget for the workers, not the palace," "Government resign," and "AKP to the grave, people to power." They also burned their utility bills.
The protest was held upon the call of the "Istanbul Take Back the Price Hikes Coordination" which consists of political parties, professional organizations and democratic mass organizations.
The coordination held a joint statement during the protest, saying the mass impoverishment started with the government's privatization policies.
“Cengiz, Kolin, Limak, Sabancı, Zorlu, Aksa, Çalık… Where there is an exploitation of labor, where there is a plunder of nature, these companies are there. While these companies increased their wealth with the people's money, the people in Isparta were left in the cold and dark for days because they did not do their jobs. The year is 2022; one person froze to death in Isparta,” the statement said.
They demanded that the government withdraw the price hikes back and nationalize the energy companies.
Consumer Protection Association (TÜKODER) member Oya Erakıncı, Labor Party Istanbul Head Sema Barbaros, Left Party Istanbul Head Leyla Koçüzüm, and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul co-spokesperson İlknur Birol read the joint statement.
In January, inflation jumped to nearly 50% after a currency crash late last year triggered by President Recep Tayyip Erdogğan's unorthodox low interest rate policy, raising the cost of living for Turks already struggling to make ends meet.
In response, the government has raised the minimum wage by 50% but also increased the prices of gas, power, petrol and road tolls to account for import price volatility.
The record currency depreciation and soaring prices have hit Erdoğan's opinion poll ratings ahead of elections set for no later than June 2023. The government says credit, exports and investment will help the country weather inflation.