Sun, 24 Oct 2021

ISTANBUL, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- University students have been protesting the rising dormitory rents and fees by spending nights at parks in Turkey's largest city Istanbul.

A group of students were putting up for the night early Tuesday in a park in Besiktas, the most crowded central district of Istanbul, once famous for its affordable rental apartments.

"From now on, we will sleep on the streets every night, reflecting the anger and suffering of millions of young people who do not have a roof above them," the group said in a press release.

Students from other provinces to Istanbul are facing high rents and a lack of apartments, as face-to-face education started this week after distance education for the last year due to COVID-19.

The annual rents for 1-bedroom apartments around universities across the city went up as much as 5,000 Turkish liras (approximately 580 U.S. dollars), and costs of dormitories in private universities vary between 8,000 and 55,000 liras (928 to 6,380 dollars) a year.

Under the topic of "unsheltered," students have launched a campaign on socia media to ask authorities to control rents and reduce dormitory fees.

Before the start of the new academic year, the Istanbul municipality had taken action to meet the accommodation needs of university students by building new dormitories for the first time in its history.

"Until the end of the year, 1,000 students will be able to receive service in municipality dormitories" for 600 liras (70 dollars) monthly, the municipality said in a statement.

However, considering the high number of university students studying in Istanbul, the municipality's efforts seem insufficient, and the capacity of 25 state dormitories is far from need.

The "unsheltered" movement has seen support by university students in the capital Ankara and the western province of Izmir, with some student groups saying they would set up tents in the streets.

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