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Turkish Food Fight Turns to Raids, Fines as Inflation Stings | Bloomberg

Turkey has found that fighting words alone aren’t enough to deter the people it blames for runaway food inflation.

After weeks of bashing those deemed price-gougers as traitors and even terrorists, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party is backing up threats with deeds. Fines are on the way after raids of wholesale food markets in five provinces on Feb. 6 uncovered “exorbitant” price increases of up to 800 percent for certain items, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said on Sunday.

A municipal officer makes an unannounced visit to check food prices in October.Photographer: Kostas Tsironis/Bloomberg
Authorities also want to cut out middlemen by purchasing vegetables directly from farmers and selling them at cut-rate prices in Turkey’s two biggest cities, with tents up and running at numerous locations from Monday. Discount sales will be expanded to include cleaning products, according to Erdogan.

Whether price-gouging alone is at fault remains a question, especially after the rapid depreciation of the lira in August raised the cost of food imports and transportation. Recent flash floods in Antalya may have also contributed to some shortages, although Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has dismissed the idea that adverse weather was to blame, saying it damaged only a fraction of Turkey’s greenhouses.

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Turkish Food Fight Turns to Raids, Fines as Inflation Stings – Bloomberg.

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