Turkey’s once-booming construction sector has come to a grinding halt.
Hit by the currency collapse that has driven up the cost of imported materials, the industry has also suffered from massive interest rate hikes.
Unpaid for months construction workers are seizing luxury apartment blocks.
Then I live with my wife and two children and we can’t even afford to pay our rent and monthly expenses anymore.
We don’t have the economic power to cover this. That’s why I’m protesting here for 56 days.
Many families have lost their homes because of the crisis.
During the boom people gave up their old homes in exchange for the promise of new apartments in massive developments built on the land where their houses stood.
But this is what remains of the promised dream in Istanbul to keep their district where 2,000 families gave up their homes.
They took over this part of the district saying we are going to build houses and they didn’t.
All these contractors men with briefcases came lied and took money from people and had families sign away their lands and now they are not building.
Turkey’s labor intensive construction industry was the engine for more than a decade of unprecedented economic growth.
Prosperity is seen as the key to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan 16 years of electoral success.
State infrastructure projects are continuing in a bid to keep the construction industry alive.
One state mega project is Istanbul new airport opened last month and touted as one of the world’s largest.
Next is the construction of a vast canal near Istanbul which Erdogan has promised to start building next year .
Despite the scale of these projects which run into billions of dollars, they are dwarfed by the construction sector crisis.
I haven’t seen anything like this for 35 years, never experience just scale of people being laid off, salaries not being paid and working conditions being this terrible. We had all these before ,but this time it’s a hundred times worse.
With recession looming that could mean trouble for Erdogan, key local elections for control of turkey cities are due to be held next March.
Jones VOA news Istanbul
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