University students in Turkey can’t afford housing or basic necessities as prices soar
University students in Turkey face severe financial hardship and cannot afford housing or basic necessities, the BBC Turkish Service reported.
Most students who study in big cities like Istanbul say they have to share cramped apartments and still can’t make ends meet. Some say they have to study and sleep in shifts because there isn’t enough room for more beds and desks in the smaller apartments.
A student named Murat said their apartment was so cramped that one of their friends had to sleep in the kitchen. “The landlord asked us to pay $200 a year for heating, but we can’t afford it, so we’ll probably use a heater in the winter months,” he said. “Prices have gone up so much that last year we spent half of what we spend this year on the cost of living.”
Many students like Murat said they could barely afford to buy groceries. “We can buy basic things like cheese and rice, but even then we end up spending a lot of money,” Murat said.
Another student named Zülal said he could not afford fruit, vegetables or meat. “Even though we limit our costs, we spend more than 2,000 TL [$110] at the supermarket every month,” she added.
Zülal said she shared a one-bedroom apartment with two other students and no one had their own bed or study space. While one studied, the other slept.
According to Zülal, many students faced mental health issues due to financial issues. Many of his friends no longer had any dreams or hopes for the future.
“Before, I was ashamed of not having any money, but now I only feel anger,” she said.
Other students said they lived in damp, moldy apartments because they couldn’t afford better.
Estate agents said the housing crisis would only get worse and they did not see it being resolved by the end of the year. As the new academic year approaches, they believe the crisis will hit university students the hardest.
In recent years, Turkey has suffered from a deteriorating economy, with high inflation and unemployment as well as a poor human rights record. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is being criticized for mismanaging the economy, emptying state coffers and establishing a one-man rule in the country where dissent is suppressed and opponents are imprisoned for political reasons.
An insanely high cost of living has become the new norm in Turkey, where recent increases in food and utility prices are driving up inflation, further crippling citizens’ purchasing power.
According to official data, consumer prices accelerated to an annual rate of 78.6% in June, from 73.5% in May.
A growing number of Turks have complained on social media about rising electricity bills and debt. Many said that even basic foods such as vegetables have become a luxury, with prices rising by almost 400%.
A group of university students calling themselves the “We Can’t Shelter” movement held their first vigil in Istanbul on September 19, sleeping outside to protest high dormitory prices and rents. The protests then spread among university students in different cities.
Erdoğan targeted students at a press conference, saying protesters were “lying” because there were enough dormitories across the country.