Turkish government subsidises groceries ahead of local elections

EPA-EFE//SEDAT SUNA

A Turkish vendor prepares tomatoes and cucumbers for customers at a local market in Istanbul.

Turkish government subsidises groceries ahead of local elections


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Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered that certain food items must be sold at heavily discounted prices to address public outcry over soaring prices prior to municipal elections in March.

While inflation fell to 20% in October 2018, vegetable prices soared by 31% in January, reflecting higher costs of labour, fuel, fertiliser, and tornadoes that have hit south-east Turkey. Some cheaper produce has been imported from Iran to help slow the surging prices.

Erdogan has blamed “speculators and stockpilers” and is calling for inspections at warehouses and shops,  which he says are engaging in “food terrorism.”

Turkey’s largest supermarket chain, Migros, slashed prices this week and began selling at a loss.

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