Ankara, October 5 (IANS): The economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic in Turkey has caused painful increases in the prices of consumer goods for most people amid embarrassing inflation that authorities are struggling to contain.
Annual inflation rose to 19.58% in September from 19.25% in August, according to official data released on Monday.
Turkey’s economy was already vulnerable last year with the coronavirus outbreak and the worsening current account deficit, and the import-dependent country’s woes have been exacerbated by lockdowns and health restrictions, the agency reports. Xinhua Press Release.
While Turkey’s economy grew 21.7% in the second quarter of 2021 year-on-year, the country’s economic outlook remains fragile, observers said.
The Turkish lira is at its lowest in history after the central bank announced a surprise 100 basis point cut on September 23 despite high inflation.
Turks are feeling the spur of rising prices. Gas and electricity prices have risen steadily, sharply increasing the cost of living in the country.
“There is not a single good whose price has not increased. The increase in our wages does not correspond to this increase. Thus, we are getting poorer every month,” said Ibrahim Ayberk, accountant in the Yildizevler district of the capital Ankara.
“From my profession, I personally see that the increase in food prices has exceeded 20% since the beginning of this year,” he insisted. “Certain fruits like strawberries or figs have become luxury items.”
Apartment rental rates have increased by more than 50% in Istanbul, the country’s most populous city with more than 16 million people, in a year, prompting officials to seek government appointments in cheaper cities, according to reports.
To curb food prices, the Turkish government is waging a war on speculation and has launched an investigation into the country’s five largest supermarket chains after they were blamed for soaring prices.
Price increases in these supermarkets “are disrupting entire markets,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week.
Erdogan had earlier promised that Turkey would contain the price spikes and that the government would prevent “unreasonable” price hikes.
The Turkish leader on Sunday called on agricultural credit unions to tackle food inflation.
He said the government had asked the cooperatives to open 1,000 new markets nationwide to provide inexpensive products.