Dozens of women gathered in downtown İstanbul on Sunday, banging pots and pans in protest of huge price hikes in Turkey, local media outlets reported on Monday.
The rising cost of living has become a major source of public discontent in Turkey as inflation hit 48.69 percent in January, the highest level since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power two decades ago.
Shrinking purchasing power and economic woes are prompting people to protest across the country.
A group of women on Sunday gathered in İstanbul’s Kadıköy district for a protest organized by the We Will Stop Femicide Platform’s Women’s Assembly against recent price hikes in natural gas and electricity bills.
The women banged pots and pans, danced and sang songs to protest the country’s deteriorating economy and high cost of living as police officers occasionally tried to dissuade them and cordon them off.
“Despite the police’s efforts to hinder the protest, the Women’s Assembly has come together to protest the economic crisis and price hikes by banging pots and pans and dancing in Kadıköy,” tweeted Zeynep Kuray, a protester.
Polisin tüm engelleme girişimine rağmen Kadıköy'de bir araya gelen Kadın Meclisleri,ekonomik krizi ve yüksek faturaları, tencere tava vurarak yaptıkları dans performansıyla protesto ediyor pic.twitter.com/Y3LJmEt4pU
— Zeynep Kuray (@zeynokuray) February 13, 2022
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, while the Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAŞ) raised natural gas prices by 25 percent for households and 50 percent for industrial users.
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) last week organized protests across all provinces, urging the ruling AKP to withdraw recently introduced increases in energy prices.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu last Wednesday said he wouldn’t pay his electricity bills until President Erdoğan rolls back the recently introduced increases in energy prices.
The Turkish lira lost 44 percent of its value against the dollar last year, with the losses accelerating at the end of 2021, when Erdoğan’s unorthodox aversion to interest rates led to a series of sharp rate reductions.
Erdoğan has gone against orthodox economic thinking as part of a “war of economic independence,” arguing repeatedly that high rates push up inflation.
The embattled president vowed in December to rein in inflation decimating Turks’ purchasing power, while economists claim the promise is highly unlikely to come true.