Turkey Early 2023 GDP Growth to Slow as With Cost of Living Crisis

Mada Hayyas
2 min readOct 31, 2023

Turkey’s economy was boosted at the start of the year by pre-election spending and strong household consumption. The rest of 2023 will probably be tougher as the newly re-elected president battles a cost-of-living crisis. Gross domestic product probably grew 3.5% year-on-year in the first quarter and 0.5% from the previous period.

I have lived in Turkey for almost a year. Compared to the first time I came here, everything still felt normal before high inflation. Daily necessities which I feel are still much cheaper than Jakarta and are now skyrocketing, prices are uncertain every week, living in the throes of crisis due to inflation. And, The housing crisis in Turkey has deepened to the point that many can no longer afford to pay rent, as housing rent has increased two-fold compared to last year or even at the beginning of this year, especially in Istanbul. The skyrocketing rental prices have raised concerns, with many tenants struggling to find affordable housing options. The issue has been further compounded by a decline in housing sales across the country.

Living alone in Istanbul as a foreigner was a bit challenging for me, the problems that have piled up regarding obtaining a resident permit have drained my energy, and the twists and turns of looking for a suitable apartment and the never-ending drama with real estate. In Istanbul, you can have different levels of how much is “enough” depending on your lifestyle. I have friends who spend 3000 USD and barely call it money, and I have other friends living on 800–1000 USD who can manage their daily expenses. I heard a lot about Turkey now is not Turkey 2 or 3 years ago especially in Istanbul. The people, the shops, the jobs, real estate, everything.

One of my relatives often makes a joke “if you get money, spend it. You even realize that this money for tomorrow will not have the same value.” Many of my local friends complain about how expensive eating out is, even if I compare the price of clothes with last year’s winter, it has doubled. Ask anyone who goes to Turkey year after year, and they will tell you that the Turkish lira is in trouble. Starting in 2013, the currency has steadily fallen in value, nosing diving over the last 12 months. When currencies fall in value, things brought from abroad become more expensive. With most countries importing goods, such as fuel, materials or technology, weaker currencies mean higher prices. This has fuelled record-breaking inflation in Turkey — among the highest rate in Europe.