A man, facing extreme financial difficulties, attempted to set himself alight in a park in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara, the Gazete Duvar news website reported on Wednesday.
The incident reportedly took place in Guvenpark, an urban public park in Ankara’s Kizilay district, around noon on Wednesday, when the man in his forties, identified only with the initials R.P., used gasoline in self-immolation.
Police officers arrived at the scene immediately after receiving calls from people who witnessed the incident and used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.
The man, who sustained injuries over his body, was then sent to the Hacettepe Hospital for treatment, under police supervision.
Refusing to accept the treatment at the hospital, the retired man explained to the police officers that he tried to set himself on fire in order to make himself heard after his retirement salary was blocked due to his bank debt.
The police have launched an investigation into the incident.
“This seems like an incident that we will probably witness frequently in the days ahead of us,” Hamza Aydogdu, a member of the ruling AK Party (AKP)’s Mamak district municipality council, said in a tweet on Wednesday.
Ankara Güvenpark’ta bir vatandaşımız ekonomik nedenlerle kendisini yakmaya çalışmış. İlerki günlerde belki de çok sıklıkla göreceğimiz bir durum gibi… #Ekonomi #Türkiye #MemleketHalleri pic.twitter.com/tva9W1iMJ7
— Hamza Aydoğdu (@hamza_aydogdu) September 11, 2019
The Turkish lira’s decreasing value against the US dollar, high inflation rates, rising borrowing costs, and unemployment figures are some of the financial problems that exacerbate the currency and debt crisis that Turkey has been going through recently.
Both the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, who is also the country’s Finance Minister, had promised previously that the country had now moved past its worst financial downturn.
The Turkish lira has lost almost 50 percent of its value since last August.