The government raises electricity prices by 9.3 percent. The hike is the third of its kind in as many days following big increases in gasoline and natural gas prices. The ministry says the rises are due to regional tensions

Turkish consumers have woken up to a costlier life in April, with the Minister of Energy announcing that natural gas prices have been raised by a staggering 18.7 percent, while electricity prices also increased about 9.3 percent over the weekend.

The natural gas and electricity price hikes come just after gasoline prices rose for the third time late last month, putting the cost of one liter of gas at nearly 5 Turkish Liras.

“There is a cost increase of about 17 percent in natural gas due only to changes in the exchange rate. In the last 19 months oil and natural gas prices have risen 29 percent, excluding the exchange rate. The reason for the latest price increase is the difference in the exchange rate and rising oil prices,” Minister of Energy Taner Yıldız said, speaking in the central Anatolian province of Kayseri March 31, according to Doğan news agency.

“The government used to purchase [one barrel of] oil for $22 ten years ago, now it cannot purchase one even for $122. Energy costs are up six-fold versus a gross domestic product growth of three-fold,” he said.

Commenting on the increase in electricity price by nearly 9.3 on March 31, he said, “If we had not reahced an agreement with Russia on a price cut deal for natural gas prices late last year, those prices might have been increased twice as much.”

Opposition slams hikes

Turkey produces nearly half of its electricity

from natural gas power plants. The energy sector pays the price for political instability caused by tensions in North Africa, Syria, and between Israel and Iran, Yıldız said yesterday. Turkey is in talks with the Libyan government to arrange a goods-for-oil barter, Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying. “We will construct buildings in exchange for petroleum coke,” he said.

Citizens pay the price while the government manages the economy with price hikes, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the head of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said yesterday, speaking in the northwestern province of Eskişehir.

“They used to say ‘Turkey sets an example to the whole world,’ and ‘there is no problem with the economy.’ What kind of an example is this? Citizens face immediate price hikes in electricity and natural gas,” the Anatolia news agency quoted Kılıçdaroğlu as saying, as he slammed government claims that the hikes stem from international market prices, saying that this is not the case in other countries. “We have the most expensive diesel, gas and natural gas,” he said.

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