Istanbul, Turkey – Hasan Dogan says he is not bothered by the cold and rain as he prepares to spend another night in an Istanbul park. The fourth-year graphic design university student and dozens of other students have been sleeping in the streets for four nights, part of a national protest movement against what they say is an unbearable rent crisis in Turkey.

“Whether it’s raining or not, we will stay here until our requests are met, we do not have a place to stay anyway,” he told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

Skyscrapers and luxury condominiums spring up from the streets surrounding the park in the city’s financial district, a testament to long-term economic growth. But the student protests, happening nightly in dozens of cities across Turkey, are a sign of a growing cost of living crisis.

Turkey’s economy was in the doldrums before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, with the lira frequently coming under pressure and triggering…

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