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Turks turn to selling organs on social media as a way out of financial difficulties

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Turks have started putting up advertisements on social media to sell their organs, usually one of their kidneys or a part of their liver, as a way to cope with the financial difficulties they face in a country where a staggeringly high cost of living has become the new normal, the Birgün daily reported on Tuesday.

Over the past several years Turkey has been suffering from a deteriorating economy, with high inflation and unemployment. The country is currently in the middle of an economic crisis as food and fuel prices have more than doubled since the beginning of the year. An increasing number of citizens complain about rising utility bills and increased rental prices that make them fall into debt.

A large number of citizens who are drowning in debt started forming groups on social media and advertising the sale of their organs to be able to pay it off, Birgün said.

According to Birgün, a group of social media users, including people as young as in their twenties, put up such advertisements on a social media group named “Kidney and [other] organ seekers,” stating their blood type and noting that they have no health problems and that they neither smoke nor consume alcohol.

“I want to sell my kidney. I’m clear about this because I have four daughters, I can’t pay my rent, I can’t take care of them. … As a father, I feel embarrassed when my daughters ask me for something,” a user identified only by the initials K.K. is quoted as saying in an advertisement.

Birgün also asked another user identified by the initials A.K. his reasons for selling his organs.

“I’m in a bad place financially. I can’t even pay my bills. I have no other way out. I thought of this as a last resort,” A.K. told Birgün.

According to Google trends, the number of Turks who searched for the Turkish equivalent of the sentence “I want to sell my kidney” has increased by 400 percent in the past year alone, Birgün said.

Local media reports previously showed that people also stuck posters on walls near bus stops and trees in parks to advertise for the same purpose in such large cities as İstanbul and İzmir.

A report drafted by Tekin Bingöl, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), showed last year that nearly 60,000 people had killed themselves under the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which came to power in 2002, with 4,801 of more than 53,000 suicides taking place between 2002 and 2019 due to financial problems. The report also revealed that 150 people died by suicide in Turkey for the same reason in the first five months of 2021.

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