Turkey reflects on second collective family suicide amid economic turmoil

By bne IntelliNews November 12, 2019

The worst of Turkey’s economic turmoil may or may not be over but Turks are still coming to terms with a weekend which brought news of a second collective family suicide that appeared to be a response to hardship.

A man, his wife and two children were found dead by police officers in their home in Antalya, southern Turkey, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. The father left a note saying he had been jobless for the past nine months and couldn’t go on, NTV reported on its website. Cumhuriyet newspaper said the deaths may have been due to cyanide poisoning. “I apologize from everyone, but there’s nothing else to do. We are ending our lives,” the father’s suicide note in Antalya read, NTV added.

Back on November 5, four adult siblings were found dead in their Istanbul homes. These deaths also appear to have been the result of a collective suicide involving cyanide poisoning. Anadolu Agency quoted a friend of the deceased as saying that they were suffering from chronic economic hardship.

Since the collapse of the Turkish lira in the summer of 2018, companies in Turkey have faced a sea of debt. Inflation and unemployment rocketed in the wake of the crisis. Turkey will this year struggle to record any growth. It has not suffered an annual contraction in a decade.

“It’s well-established that suicides increase during economic crisis periods,” Ilker Kucukparlak, a psychiatrist in Istanbul, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

The poverty threshold for a four-person household stands at Turkish lira (TRY) 6,705 ($1,162) per month, according to a monthly survey by the Turk-Is labor confederation cited by the news agency. That’s more than three times the monthly minimum wage of TRY2,020.

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