Petitions to Turkey’s Presidential Communications Center (CİMER) increased by 90 percent since 2020, with a total of six million inquiries received, Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun boasted on Jan. 13.
CİMER is an online portal that allows citizens to make complaints to the Presidential Communications Center, without restrictions on the content of their grievances.
The widespread use of the CİMER online system is often an indication of other public agencies’ failure to solve citizens’ issues, leaving them no choice but to petition the presidency.
“CİMER is one of the best examples of participatory democracy,” Altun said on Turkish Police Radio on Jan. 13, demonstrating the failure of the Presidency to connect with the people.
Cries of starvation and poverty are streaming from surveys, and newspaper headlines. Potato farmers in Interior Anatolian town of Nigde greeted the CHP delegation with “We are starving. Soon, suicides will start” complaints. A senior citizen was videoed skimming through a garbage bin to find edibles. An AKP deputy objected to the description in the You Tube video, claiming the old man was looking for “furniture”. A 65 year old female day worker, asked to leave a public transport bus on account of social restrictions mumbled “I must go and clean staircases or I will have no food on the table.
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Turkey’s once magnificent social protection network is crumbling as budgetary funds are syphoned into Erdogan’s mega-projects and expensive military gadgets. According to October employment survey 10-12 million working age citizens are unemployed and too discouraged to seek jobs. However, data from public agencies indicate that the joint sum of social aid programs covered only 4 million of the destitute.
There is also survey evidence exposing the dimensions of poverty. According to a monthly survey of living standards conducted by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, 60% of the participants confessed lack of funds even to cover basic needs such as food, rent and clothing. 19% can no longer meet the minimum monthly payments on their credit cards.
The decline in living standards is reflected to polls.. Below, you will see a poll of polls table by Istanbul Analytics. As of last week, the AKP-MHP coalition is garnering only 47% of the national vote. According to center-left Arti1 research, Istanbul mayor Mr. Ekrem Imamoglu has narrowed the difference between Erdogan to 2 points in a presidential race survey.