Business & Economy

Homeless students sleep in Istanbul parks to protest rental crisis

By ??Ilya U. Topper

Istanbul, Oct 11 (EFE).- As students get ready to return to university in Istanbul, a housing crisis has emerged with young people struggling to find rooms for rent in the bustling city.

“I’ve been looking for a flat for a month, it’s a full-time job: looking at advertisements on the web every day, calling hundreds of estate agents,” Anthropology student Cihan Cihangir tells Efe.

“Almost everyone tells you they do not have apartments to rent,” the 20-year-old adds.

The issue is there are only around 700,000 rooms in halls for some 8 million students in Turkey.

To make matters worse, the pandemic has triggered galloping inflation which has soared by 20%.

Housing in downtown Istanbul has always been scarce, but this year the crisis has led to protests.

The so-called ‘Homeless’ protesters have been demonstrating by sleeping rough, in parks and on benches surrounded by their academic books.

Some students have pitched tents on University campuses and the Twitter account that organizes the movement gathered over 30,000 followers in days.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s first reaction to the protest was to accuse young people of “exaggerating.” He went on to say his government had built more student halls and increased monthly scholarships by $69.

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