Turkey’s main opposition party urges gov’t to roll back energy price hikes in nationwide protests

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Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Wednesday organized protests across all provinces, urging the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to withdraw recently introduced increases in energy prices, the Birgün daily reported on Wednesday.

Turks started 2022 with news of jacked-up prices, fueled by a currency crisis amid the highest rate of inflation in nearly two decades.

Turkey’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EPDK) announced on Jan. 1 that it had raised electricity prices by 52 percent for lower-demand households for the new year and 127 percent for high-demand commercial users.

Local CHP organizations protested the high energy prices by releasing press statements simultaneously in 81 provinces across the country.

The CHP’s Ankara provincial organization issued its press release in front of a statue of Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, in Ulus.

CHP Deputy Chairman Ahmet Akın called on the government to roll back the increased rates instead of looking for formulas to lower electricity bills.

Speaking on behalf of her party during the protest in İstanbul, Canan Kaftancıoğlu, the CHP’s İstanbul provincial chairwoman, said the ruling party is trying to cover up the huge price increases by changing the way the bills are calculated.

Kaftancıoğlu called on the government to set up a fund to provide financial assistance to citizens who are unable to pay their bills and cancel taxes on electricity and natural gas bills during the winter.

In İzmir the press release was read out by CHP İzmir provincial chairman Deniz Yücel, who stressed that the AKP has continuously increased the price of everything from electricity to natural gas and taxes.

“The high cost of living is further exacerbating poverty,” he said, adding that they would take steps to eliminate the economic and energy crises when they come to power.

Thousands of people in eastern Ağrı province and Muğla in the west last week protested in the streets against the rising electricity prices they have faced since the beginning of the year.

The protesters said in a statement that there had been a two- to threefold increase in the electricity bills they received over the past month and that some of the merchants in the city had to pay electricity bills surpassing their monthly rent, demanding that the government roll back the price hikes.

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