Locals have been interviewed to find out how they have been coping with debt, rising prices and economic uncertainty brought about by the effects of the pandemic, fluctuating foreign currency exchange and the ever-weakening Turkish Lira.
The article written by Yeniduzen reflects the increasing anxiety, depression and concern for the future of both tradespeople and their customers.
The owner of a well-known kebab restaurant in Nicosia says that she cannot afford to repay her bank loan which is a foreign currency debt. “I have been repaying my sterling debt for seven years. When I first borrowed it [sterling] was 2.50 TL, now it is 18 TL. I pay a debt of £1,300 a month, I can’t cope anymore, no one can go out, let them find a solution…”
Despite the fact that she works 12 hours a day, there are fewer customers and the price of meat is always on the rise, she said.
The government inspection and control mechanism is not working, she said. “Four litres of oil, which I bought for 80 TL on Friday, rose to 105 TL on Sunday from the same market. The chicken I bought for 85 TL the other day [went up to] 115 TL, but I could not reflect these increases to my customers. Because if I do, no one will come anymore. Instead of doing that, I go without myself. This is how I try to deal with life”, she said.
Another person who sells insurance pension plans said that she struggles to buy food and medicines.
An 83-year old pension, living on the poverty line said she had to economise on the use of electricity and bottled gas. She receives a monthly pension of 3,200 TL, of which, 1,500 TL goes on rent. A further 500TL is needed for medicines. She was also fearful for her safety, believing that people driven to desperation will commit theft and fraud. “There was a time when we used to sleep with our doors and windows open, this is no longer possible”, she said.
Two jewellers said that no one buys any more, people only come to sell their gold jewelry.
Meanwhile, people operating currency exchange bureaus say that once, currency values would fluctuate around 10 times a day and now that number had doubled to twenty.