Turkish citizens are selling their clothes to buy food.
A man asks security guards outside a factory if he can take the leftover bread from the garbage for his hens, but eventually eats it with his wife secretly.
There are many more harsh images depicting the unprecedented misery of Turkish citizens due to inflation and the rapid devaluation of the Turkish lira to an unprecedented low of 17.41 per US dollar.
“We are in a very bad situation and the situation is constantly deteriorating,” said Ahmet, an employee at a hotel in Istanbul city centre, in the tourist area of İstiklal Avenue.
“Everything is very expensive. Everyday we find all food and goods are becoming more expensive.
“The milk until a few days ago in the supermarket was 10 liras and today it is 16!”
“It is impossible to live with our salaries,” he added, without knowing when I mentioned it to him, that the government had a plan to increase salaries and pensions by 50%.
“In depression and without Plan B”
“We are depressed with the pandemic and the economy and without a Plan B,” said Bilge, a a private employee who confirmed that people in her country sell their clothes for a few liras to buy milk and bread for their children.
“Everything was done in two weeks,” she explained. “The only thing I do not want is to be forced to leave my country for Germany or some other EU country just to be able to live.”
“We are getting poorer every day,” she continued, adding that her health, due to poor financial conditions and energy costs, is not good, even though she managed and did not get COVID-19, like her peers.
“My roommate and I are constantly sick because our house is permanently frozen. We cannot have heating with these gas prices. The bills are many salaries together. There is no such money!” she stressed.
Her salary today is 5,300 liras. She is considered privileged by many of her fellow citizens.
“But to live decently and with heating I need at least 10,000. In 2020, the 5,000 I was earning was okay,” she explained.
At the supermarket she went to in the morning, she could just buy just two lemons, toilet paper (“which is insanely expensive”), tea and Turkish coffee .
“The bill was 100 liras,” she exclaimed.
The derailment of a seemingly controlled daily life until recently, pushed her to do, she revealed, something for the first time:
“Yesterday I prayed. I have nothing to do with religion. But the situation is marginal. Elections must be held immediately and we must see change. Otherwise we will live but being socially dead,” she predicted.
“Tragic situation, people are hungry”
“People in the country are hungry. They were always hungry even with the lowest salary, but today the situation is tragic,” confirmed the disappointed Greek businessman Iakovos Karagiannis, who has a fresh-frozen fish business that had to be put on “ice” already because of the great recent recession caused by COVID-19.
I found him by phone while he was traveling by public transport.
Is he not afraid of the COVID-19 that he is still reaping?
“I have already received two vaccines and I am going for the third dose,” he said before giving us some tangible examples of irrational revaluation of the Turkish market.
“A kilo of minced meat cost 42 liras. Today it costs 90,” he said.
“Only a few can buy. Even a simple lettuce of 5 liras climbed to 10.
“The rise in prices of imported products drives up the prices of local goods in an irrational way. Everyone saves and does not spend.
“And too many do not even put radiators and freeze in the winter.”
Karagiannis sees his fortune in Turkish banks evaporate with the devaluation of the lira but keeps alive the hope of selling his business at a good price “and to return to my homeland, to Greece”.