“We have been helping vulnerable people for two decades, but never before have I seen such poverty.” This is how charity activist Hacer Foggo summarizes the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the most indigent segments of Turkish society. Foggo, a co-founder of the Deep Poverty Network, a civic initiative helping the poor, speaks of a rising number of people waiting outside groceries for the disposal of bad vegetables and fruits, mothers unable to breastfeed their babies because of malnourishment, and supermarkets installing hook locks on infant formula and other basic items of food. “I’m afraid that we’ll see … families living in the streets in the near future,” she warns.

Poverty in Turkey has both expanded and deepened during the pandemic, which hit at a time when Ankara was already in financial dire straits amid economic turmoil, since 2018.

Written by Mustafa Sönmez