The woman in line before me in the small grocery shop at the corner of my street buys a loaf of bread, a few eggs, a bottle of water and a few tomatoes. She plays with the coins in her hand and finds she doesn’t have enough money to pay the bill of less then 5 ytl (that’s about 2.75 euros). The shop-owner, who is old and uses a calculator to add up small amounts of money, takes a long piece of paper out of the till. The woman’s name is already on the list, she has a debt of about 25 ytl which will now become 27. The list of people in debt is a long one. It makes me wonder about the effects of the financial crisis on Turkey. I read articles about inflation going up to more than ten percent, about the car industry in deep trouble, about exports under pressure, about a deal that Prime Minister Erdogan is about to make with the IMF. For people in neighbourhoods like mine, where incomes are low, a financial crisis is a fixture of their daily life. The minimum wages are way too low to cover the cost of living, especially in an expensive city like Istanbul, and due to the international financial crisis, people’s jobs are less secure. But for them the financial crisis didn’t start weeks ago with the mortgage panic in the United States. They are in a continuing financial crisis, a life-long one.
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Podiumbouwer Maaike van Kempen made this website.