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Turks upset over major energy price hikes

January 1, 2022

People in Turkey are facing rising electric and gas costs at the start of 2022. Critics of President Erdogan's government have taken to social media to express outrage over the latest blow to the Turkish economy.

Istiklal Avenue illuminated with holiday lights
With the start of the new year, Turkish consumers will see steep energy price hikesImage: Arife Karakum/AA/picture alliance

People in Turkey voiced criticism on Saturday over price hikes for gas and electricity that are taking effect at the start of 2022.

The higher costs, announced shortly before midnight on New Year's Eve, will also extend to higher prices for petrol, bridge tolls and car insurance.

According to Turkey's Energy Market Regulatory Authority, electricity costs will rise 50% for households in 2022 and 125% for businesses. The government agency blamed higher global energy prices.

A statement from state-owned BOTAS said natural gas prices would rise 25% for homes and 50% for industrial use this January.

Rising costs amid rampant inflation

Consumers in Turkey have struggled with a decline in their purchasing power due to rampant inflation at more than 20%.

The value of the Turkish lira suffered dramatic drops in 2021 as the country followed an unorthodox economic policy that emphasized low interest rates at the expense of all else. The policy is guided and championed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

As a consequence,  the lira suffered a 45% loss of value over the last year.

As prices soar in Turkey, discontent deepens

In Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, the Chamber of Commerce said retail prices jumped almost 35% in December as compared to the year before.

The newest energy price increases are set to push inflation even higher.

Price hikes come with heavy criticism

In a New Year tweet, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People's Party (CHP) said Erdogan was going to "shove colossal hikes down people's throats as they enter the new year." 

Durmus Yilmaz, a former central bank governor, wrote on Twitter the government condemned Turkish people to "deep poverty" and warned of "major social problems." 

ar/rs (dpa, Reuters)