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Electricity cuts at Turkiye opposition head's home after he refuses to pay rising bills

ANKARA, TURKIYE - APRIL 12: Leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu speaks during his party's group meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara, Turkiye on April 12, 2022. ( Binnur Ege Gürün Koçak - Anadolu Agency )
Leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu speaks during his party's group meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara, Turkiye on April 12, 2022. [Binnur Ege Gürün Koçak - Anadolu Agency]

The leader of Turkiye's main opposition party said today that power had been cut at his home, after he refused to pay his bills for two months in protest at steep hikes in subsidised energy prices, Reuters reports.

A currency crisis late last year sent inflation soaring and prompted the government to raise prices of everything from gas and electricity to road tolls, alcohol, bus fares and petrol in January.

"Energy is a basic human right. I wanted to be the voice of those who cannot pay," Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu said in a video posted on Twitter.

Annual inflation rose further to 61 per cent in March. Many analysts blame the economic turmoil on a series of unorthodox interest rate cuts engineered by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last year.

Kilicdaroglu said in February he would stop paying his electricity bills and called for the price hikes to be rolled back.

Today he said that his wife notified him that power had been cut in their Ankara home, and that electricity prices – which went up between 50 per cent and 125 per cent at the beginning of 2022 – had rise more than 400 per cent in three years.

Turkey: opposition leader refuses to pay power bills in protest at price hikes

Nearly 3.5 million Turkish subscribers had their power cut in 2021, Kilicdaroglu added without giving a source for that information.

The inflationary surge has hit Erdogan's popularity ahead of national elections due no later than June 2023, in which Kilicdaroglu is seen as a potential contender for the presidency.

The lira lost 44 per cent against the dollar last year largely due to the monetary easing, which began in September despite rising inflation. The depreciation stoked inflation through Turkiye's heavy flow of imports.

The easing cycle was part of Erdogan's new economic programme that aims to boost exports, credit and investment, and that the government says will eventually ease inflation.

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