Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party will cut monthly electricity bills by 3 percent to help consumers, a move that has raised eyebrows as it comes ahead of elections set for 2023, the TR724 news website reported on Tuesday.
The development was announced on Monday by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said Turkey would remove two fixed charges from electricity bills to help consumers, adding that his government had already subsidized some energy costs.
Following a cabinet meeting in Ankara, Erdoğan said the government would remove a fixed 2 percent charge in electricity bills for the funding of state broadcaster TRT and another 1 percent for outstanding energy costs.
“We will continue to manage this global energy crisis without damaging energy providers or hurting our citizens,” the president said.
As a result of the cuts that Erdoğan announced as “good news,” an average family’s monthly electricity fee will be reduced by only TL 5 or 6 ($0.51 or 0.62), TR724 said.
Indirect taxation has long been an issue in Turkey, where two-thirds of government revenues are levied from citizens via indirect taxes. When it first came to power in 2002, the AKP government pledged to remove the TRT contribution from electricity bills in order to supply cheap and sustainable electricity to the public. Since then, however, taxpayers have continued to subsidize TRT.
According to TR724, electricity fees in Turkey have seen an increase of 100 percent since June 2018, following only a 21 percent increase in the five years between 2012 and 2017.
Erdoğan’s latest move was widely considered to be an attempt to make up for the AKP’s gradually diminishing public support. Recent surveys show the vote of the AKP at around 30 percent, a considerable loss of votes compared to a nationwide vote of 42.6 percent it garnered in the last general election held in June 2018.