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Opposition MPs hold march in Ankara to protest recent price hikes

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Lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish Green Left Party (YSP) held a march in Ankara on Tuesday to protest recent price hikes that have made it even harder for Turks to make ends meet, the Artı Gerçek news website reported.

YSP lawmakers including the party’s spokespersons Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar and İbrahim Akın walked from parliament to the finance ministry building in Ankara to protest the rising cost of living in the country.

The protest took place before parliament convened for an extraordinary session called by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to discuss the recent price hikes.

Turks have been shaken by frequent price hikes and tax increases since the elections in May, which led to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his party securing another term in office.

The most recent tax increases have occurred in fuel and personal care products, while there has been a significant increase in the price of basic food items, drugs and internet subscriptions.

Erdoğan, who generously spent taxpayer money and promised significant increases in civil servant salaries and the minimum wage during his election campaign, is now trying to make up for his lavish spending and promises, his critics say.

YSP deputy group chairman Saruhan Oruç accused Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of disrupting all the macro and microeconomic balances due to its spending in the run-up to the elections. Oruç said the AKP has left economic debris in the country and is now trying to deal with it through price hikes.

Turkey’s inflation stood at 38.21 percent in June, according to official data, yet, a separate study released by independent economists from the Inflation Research Group (ENAG) who question the official data put the June figure at 108.6 percent, up from 105.2 percent in May.

Over the past several years Turkey has been suffering from a deteriorating economy, with high inflation, which saw over 80 percent last year, and unemployment, as well as a poor human rights record. Erdoğan is criticized for mishandling the economy, emptying the state’s coffers and establishing one-man rule in the country where dissent is suppressed and opponents are jailed on politically motivated charges.

The lira, which traded at 26.9 to the US dollar on Tuesday has weakened 30 percent so far this year.

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