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Economy

The Fight Against Poverty in Istanbul, One Soaring Bill at a Time

A donation platform getting anonymous aid to families at the height of the pandemic has found renewed relevance as an economic crisis batters Turkey.

Demonstrators protest against Turkey’s economic crisis and rising energy prices in Istanbul on February 13, 2022. 

Demonstrators protest against Turkey’s economic crisis and rising energy prices in Istanbul on February 13, 2022. 

Photographer: Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images 

The past two years haven’t been kind to Turkey’s working class. With intermittent work at a garment factory in Istanbul, one father of four says he’s behind on rent and bills that already total almost as much as his average monthly earnings of 3,500 Turkish liras ($237).

“The pandemic broke our backs, and now everything is so expensive,” says the 38-year-old, speaking on condition of anonymity when discussing his hardship. With the inflation rate above 60%, he rattles off the prices of staples like tomatoes, olives and milk. “How can we not have difficulties?”