ISTANBUL — Hobbled by restrictions on his tobacco shop, Ozgur Akbas helped organize a demonstration in Istanbul last month to protest what he called unfair rules imposed on merchants during the pandemic.
“There are many friends who have shut down,” he said in an interview. “And some are on the verge of suicide.”
Turks had been grappling with a falling currency and double-digit inflation for two years when the pandemic hit in March, sharply worsening the country’s deep recession. Nine months in, as a second wave of the virus sweeps through Turkey, there are signs that a significant portion of