Turkey to open 1,000 markets to counter high inflation, Erdogan says

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ISTANBUL (Businesshala) – Turkey ordered agricultural cooperatives to open about 1,000 new markets nationwide to provide “appropriate” prices for consumer goods in the face of annual inflation of about 20%, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday. Was.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament as he attends the reopening of Turkey’s parliament after summer vacation in Ankara, Turkey October 1, 2021. Murat Setinmuhurdar / PPO / Handout Via Businesshala

Construction will begin quickly at stores to “balance the markets” with “cheap and high-quality goods” and to “balance the markets”, he said, after consumer prices rise to levels above the 5% official target.

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Frustrated by stubbornly double-digit inflation and dwindling opinion polls, Erdogan’s ruling AK Party government has again pointed the finger at supermarkets and launched an investigation into potentially exploitative pricing.

“We ordered about 1,000 of these businesses to open around Turkey, each starting with 500 square meters,” Erdogan told reporters after visiting an agricultural credit cooperative outlet in Istanbul.

“These are places where prices are appropriate for the budgets of our citizens,” he said of the commercial outlets.

Annual food inflation of around 30%, a global jump in commodity prices and a sharp depreciation of the lira currency have driven inflation to high levels throughout the year.

Inflation has remained in double digits over the past five years, eating away at household income and setting Turkey apart from emerging market peers.

Analysts say the declining credibility of the central bank is primarily attributable to Turkey’s inflation problem. Erdogan fired the last three bank governors over policy disagreements.

Under pressure from the president for stimulus, the bank unexpectedly slashed its key rate by 100 basis points to 18% last month, sending the lira to record lows.

Yet in recent weeks the government launched high-profile inspections of Turkey’s largest supermarket for “unfair pricing” and “consumer harassment”. It also investigated the prices of some restaurant breakfasts in the Eastern Province of Van.

Vice President Fuat Okte said on Saturday that it is important to increase food production in villages to prevent exploitative pricing.

In early 2019 – on the heels of a currency crisis that pushed up inflation – the government opened its own markets to sell cheap vegetables and fruits outright, cutting off retailers charged at a time of rising prices.

Editing by David Clarke and Francis Carey

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