Highway Robbery

Turkiye has little to offer a young person these days, so Daughter has decided to move permanently back to Australia. She will stay with my brother for a few weeks before renting somewhere with friends. While I am sad that she will be leaving, I know it’s the right thing for her to do (and now I have an excuse to visit more often).

With her leaving, I don’t need to rent this massive apartment in the city when I have my village home. So last September, I notified my tenants that they were to move out. September became October, and before you could even say slower than a herd of snails travelling through peanut butter, it was Christmas, and they “still hadn’t found anywhere suitable”.

FYI we gave notice to our tenants following Turkish law. We went to the noter and completed the necessary forms and had them served by the PTT (postal service), all above board.

I might mention at this point that rentals in Mersin are crazy expensive. I’m talking Istanbul expensive. Last September, an apartment in the complex I live in rented for 15000TL a month!! Of course, my owner wanted me to pay the same amount, but I pointed out that I have a lease and am not even paying another kurus more than I need to.

Why are rents so high, you might wonder? 

Mersin was always an affordable city, and many people moved here because of this. It wasn’t as expensive as Istanbul or Izmir and offered great value for money coupled with an outstanding quality of living however, in the past two years, renting or buying a home was becoming unaffordable for even an average family. A large number of refugees from Syria settled in Mersin. And then, when the war broke out in Ukraine, we had a new influx of yabancilar arriving to start their lives over. With these new (and more affluent families) coming, rents and sale prices skyrocketed.

Anyway, back to the problem at hand – my tenants.

January came and went. And then it was February… and the earthquakes struck. 

Mersin’s population has increased nearly 30% in the past five weeks. Literally hours after the earthquakes unscrupulous owners and landlords latched onto the desperate need for properties, doubling or sometimes even tripling their asking prices. Disgusting behaviour by genuinely awful human beings. Rubbing their hands in glee at other people’s misfortunes.

The city of Mersin and its Mersin-ites truly stepped up after the earthquakes. The average citizen opened their homes and hearts, giving all they could to help. My SIL, Songul, has had a family of four (and their two prissy cats) staying with her since the earthquakes. She is now the guardian of her cousin’s daughter, the only survivor of her family from Hatay.

Another BIL has converted his empty shop into a home with 10 people living there.

These are the stories of how people with almost nothing still do everything they can to help others in need until they are back on their feet.

But to get back on their feet, they need somewhere to live.

One-bedroom apartments in Mersin are now 12000TL a month.

Two-bedders will set you back $16-20K a month.

If you want to rent a house rather than an apartment, you are looking at paying even more!

And it’s not just in the city. Villages outside of the city are looking at massive rental increases. Houses that could be rented for 5000TL in the mountains are now 155000TL a year!

My tenants are stuck. They cannot afford to rent even a one-bedroom unit. 

And I feel just awful about this whole mess.

I have already given notice, so I need to move out. My landlord is chomping at the bit that he can rent this place to someone else for 4 or 5 times what I am paying.

But I really need somewhere to go. 

I can’t throw my tenants out on the street.

And I can’t live with The Turk because there is a very real possibility that we will kill each other.

I’ve told my landlord I need to stay a little longer, maybe until June. He is not a happy camper, but I don’t really care. I’m still legally within my rights to stay where I am (I think). And with summer just around the corner, I might get a few more swims in the swimming pool when it opens.

Mersin Belediye has notified property owners that putting the rents up is unconscionable, and tenants can dibby-dob on their landlords if rental increases happen. Will this make a difference? It doesn’t appear so, but I guess time will tell.

Did you know that Janey in Mersin was named one of the Top 20 expat blogs in Türkiye by Feedspot? Ch-ch-check it out here!

10 thoughts on “Highway Robbery

  1. I love reading your posts you are so down to earth & refreshing & take me to that beautiful country with your descriptive stories.
    Some years ago we had a bad cyclone hit an area if my country which was very mountainous & inaccessible. It has never been recorded exactly how many lives were lost but whole villages were destroyed & people battled to make their way through the flooded rivers & boulder strewn land to get to the first aid camps. But withing a day or two the horrible human nature to make money crept put & people were at river crossings charging the stranded to help them across or offering rooms to rent but giving them cow sheds etc & charging fortunes – the corruption came from the top though as government organisations & officials helped themselves to the donations of food & warm clothes etc collected by the rest bofors the country to help.
    Human nature has become a sad thing.


    • There are many stories about aid trucks being hijacked over the past few weeks. The worst of the worst of humanity is living here at the minute. I focus on the good in people. The many who have opened their doors and their hearts. Stories of tragedy that become stories of hope. It’s all I can do to keep myself from crawling into a ball and crying.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So much for the “hospitable” Turkish eh? While everyone else in Turkey is trying to help with donations of money food and shelter they shit on their neighbours, disgusting behaviour. Roll on the elections and a new regime.


  3. So sad that you’re in this position. We too came through Mersin after the first earthquakes on our way to Susanoglu and notices a huge influx of people on top of all the Russians that the locals say came to work in the huge nuclear central power plant (I don’t mind being corrected if I understood that incorrectly). I look forward to reading how happily it turned out for you and your tenants.


    • No you’re absolutely correct about the influx of Russians living here now. I try to stay neutral about how I feel about the situation but between you and me (and the few other people who might read this blog) if you visit some of the beachfront areas just west of the city you’ll be hard pressed to find someone who speaks Turkish or even English.


  4. What a fascinating description of the situation in Mersin right now – especially the contrast in responses (people opening their homes to families vs. greedy landlords). We had a flood here in BC, Canada 1.5 years ago, and a large stretch of agricultural land was affected. So many people helped out in amazing ways, rescuing animals, hosting families, cleaning up afterwards. And then there were the villains who went around by boat looting farmhouses during the flood. Ugh! The best and worst of human nature at the same time.

    You really feel for the average citizen like your tenants who are facing such drastic price increases through no fault of their own. So rough. I hope you’re able to find a workable solution!


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