Turks shocked in supermarket: ‘Sandwiches have become four times as expensive’

It says reporter Pepijn Nagtzaam, who has lived in Istanbul for a year and a half. We ask him four questions about Turkey’s extremely high inflation. For comparison; with us it is now about 10.11 per cent. Inflation means currency depreciation. That means you can buy less for your money, compared to a year ago. The higher the inflation, the more expensive life.

What does this mean for the Turks?

“It’s very difficult for those who have to shop here. It’s getting harder and harder. In fact, since the Turkish lira went into free fall in October, prices here are adjusted weekly. So they’s gone up. Look at the simite, a sesame bread that “sold here, is very popular. Cost 1 lira a year ago, now 4. Four times as much in a year.”

The list of examples is endless. “One is shocked in the supermarket. Coffee: from 20 to 60 lira. Three times as expensive. A bottle of beer in the supermarket: was 14.5 lira. Now 32. Detergent has become 60 percent more expensive. A jar of honey 114 percent It’s crazy , “says Nagztaam.

Many Turks can no longer afford it, Nagztaam says. “An average salary is around 7000.8000 lira. It is converted 400,450 euros. Renting an apartment in Istanbul quickly costs 5000 lira. It is almost three quarters of the salary. Then electricity prices also rise very quickly, groceries are becoming much more expensive.”

This makes it very difficult for many to make ends meet, says Nagtzaam. “Many people are also afraid of their savings. It has fallen in value by half.”

Why is it?

“It is the combination of world market turmoil and a strange economic policy by President Erdogan’s government that together is causing record inflation here. It is the highest inflation since 1998,” Nagtzaam said.

The first: that gas and oil are scarce and therefore more expensive, partly due to the war in Ukraine, we also notice this in the Netherlands. But Turkey has to import almost everything. The lira has fallen sharply against the dollar, the international currency. So Turkey still has to pay a lot more for energy.

But there is still something at stake: Turkish politics. Economists say you need to raise interest rates to curb rising inflation. But President Erdogan is not doing this on purpose. He argues that high interest rates lead to high inflation. Erdogan hopes the cheap lira will make Turkish products cheaper abroad. This allows the Turkish industry to produce and sell more. But this policy can not be called a success.

How do the Turks react?

“A lot of people are very angry at the government and at politics,” Nagtzaam says. “There is a lot of dissatisfaction, but there have not been major protests yet. Not everyone also believes in that figure of 73 percent. The government agrees, but many say, ‘When I look at my own wallet, it’s much more.’ Groups of economists have also compared grocery prices and reached a full 160 percent inflation Many people are wondering if the government will do anything, but President Erdogan remains opposed to raising interest rates so far. Anyone who wants it differently will be a called traitor. “

What does this mean for visitors?

“Everything is cheaper for tourists or Turks who live or work in Western Europe. At least if you earn euros. As I said, the average salary here is around 8000 lira, 450 euros. So if you have a sensible job in the Netherlands, then you are “On the other hand, there are probably people who support their families in Turkey. There are probably more than before,” said Nagtzaam.

Could it all be worse? The Turks must fear that. Predictions are that inflation in Turkey will rise a few percent more to 76.5. However, Turkish Finance Minister Nebati sees some bright spots. In a tweet, he says the figures show that inflation has slowed.

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