Following the refusal of the central government to act on their requests, 11 opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) mayors from some of Turkey’s largest cities have released a public statement regarding the economic crisis in the country. They say that the financial burden of inflation and price increases has become “too much to bear.”
“The economic difficulties experienced in our country and the successive price increases carry the risk of directly affecting our local governments and therefore our citizens negatively. We have submitted it to the central administration. There has not been any statement regarding these proposals so far, and we regret to see that the Union of Municipalities of Turkey has closed its eyes to this issue,” they said in a joint statement on Feb. 8.
They decided to release their suggestions and concerns to the public, instead. Primarily, they say that the increase in prices in Turkey - official annual inflation is nearly 50% - has led to increases in prices in basic goods and services such as transportation, which has made it difficult for them to provide services to citizens.
In particular, they focused on price increases in materials essential to public transportation - rubber and diesel fuel. They say that if price increases continue, affordable transportation will become obsolete. This week alone, the price of diesel fuel increased by 0.80 lira per liter.
They are calling on the central government to intervene so that their municipalities can continue to operate and provide services to citizens.
Their primary demand is that municipalities be exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT) and Special Consumption Tax (SCT) levied on fuel used by municipalities. They are also asking for a discount on electricity. Since 2019, according to the statement, the price of electricity has increased by 300%.
The mayors say that in order to provide water to citizens, they need electricity. In order to provide electricity and heating, they also need natural gas, which has increased in price by 113%. They say that right now, they have not reflected these increases in cost onto citizens, but that soon they will have to.
If the [government] does not provide municipalities with sufficient supplies at reasonable prices, these production costs will no longer be bearable,” they wrote.