University students in Turkey’s Eskisehir province on Monday demonstrated against the increased cost of living following the suicide of a fellow student, local media reported.
Resul A. took his own life by hanging himself in the university dining hall. According to his friends, the young man had financial difficulties and could not attend his classes.
“He was in debt and had to work all the time; therefore, he was absent from most classes,” said one friend. “A three-page note was found in his pocket in which he said he killed himself due to his debts.”
Speaking to the media, students said financial problems had become very common. “All students experience some kind of financial trouble,” said psychology student Eylül Öztürk. “The university needs to be aware of these problems and find ways to provide support to their students.”
Law student Deniz Tepe said students could “hardly breathe” due to financial problems.
Gathering in front of the dining hall where Resul A. died, students protested the cost of living, saying they had lost hope for the future.
“Unless we live in decent conditions, Resul will not be the last student to die,” said sociology student Zehra Ceylan.
Student union member Taylan Ferhat Adıgüzel said they were angry because a student died for not being able to afford the bare necessities. “Yesterday, we lost a friend. We are angry because we know what students are coping with just to keep their heads above water. Even finding accommodation has become impossible.”
Students also expressed outrage that the university administration had not made a statement about the reasons that led to Resul A.’s death. While a message of condolence was issued by administration, there was no mention of his financial difficulties or the problems students face amid the soaring cost of living.
A staggeringly high cost of living has become the new normal in Turkey, where recent increases in food and utility prices are pushing up inflation, further crippling the purchasing power of citizens.
According to a new report by the United Metal Workers Union Class Research Center (BISAM) the poverty line for an average family in Turkey is 43,623 Turkish lira ($1,562). Among the most expensive food groups are milk and milk products, followed meat, eggs and legumes.
In September the independent Inflation Research Group (ENAG) claimed that inflation was at 130 percent, contradicting the official figure released by TurkStat of almost 61.53 percent on an annualized basis.