A craftsman in Turkey, who has been diligently paying rent for two decades, now finds himself threatened with eviction due to an unexpected rent increase of nearly 700%. His monthly rent has surged from 3,200 Turkish lira (110 euros) to a staggering 25,000 lira (867 euros).
"I want to be heard. With such demands, we run the risk of seeing people beaten up, even stabbed," expressed the 58-year-old craftsman, who fears not only losing his workshop but also his livelihood.
According to Turkish media reports, violent clashes between tenants and property owners have resulted in eleven fatalities and at least 46 injuries over the past year.
Rent prices in Turkey have soared, with an average increase of 121% in a year, reaching as high as 188% in major cities like the capital, Ankara, as revealed by a study conducted in August by Bakhchekehir University.
Despite these staggering rent hikes, they still lag behind Turkey's actual inflation rates, which have been steadily rising since late 2019. According to government figures, inflation stands at approximately 60%, while calculations by independent economists suggest it may be closer to 130%.
In response to mounting discontent among tenants grappling with skyrocketing costs, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government imposed a cap on rent increases, limiting them to 25%, which corresponds to the official inflation rate for commercial businesses.
However, experts argue that this measure has only fueled tensions further, prompting many property owners to resort to various means, sometimes involving deception, to terminate existing leases and rent their properties at significantly higher rates.
"Landlords are demanding rent increases well above inflation, driven by the influx of people forced to leave their homes," noted one observer.
Ankara, considered a relatively safe region within Turkey, has not been immune to the rent turmoil. Many residents, including civil servants, retirees, and minimum-wage workers, are unable to afford the current rent rates.
The minimum net wage in Turkey does not exceed 11,400 Turkish lira (395 euros).
Meriem Altunlu, who relocated from Hatay in the southeast, a province severely affected by earthquakes, is concerned that the winter months will bring further rent hikes. She explained, "I was already finding it difficult to pay 13,000 lira (450 euros). If the landlord exceeds the 25% cap, I'll have no choice but to leave. I don't know where I'll go."
Legal experts, like Ms. Selvi, fear that disputes of this nature will continue to escalate, worsening the situation for tenants and landlords alike.
[Information sourced from AMPE]