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Researchers suspect a higher rate: Turkey reports a 70% price increase.

Researchers suspect a higher rate
Turkey reports a price increase of 70%.

The cost of living in Turkey increased by more than two thirds in one year. At least that’s what the statistics office says. According to independent economists, the rate is significantly higher. So far, President Erdogan has responded with reassurance. The elections are in a year.

In Turkey, already high consumer prices continued to rise in April. The inflation rate rose to 69.97 percent from the same month last year, according to data from the statistical office. This is the strongest increase in consumer prices since February 2002. According to additional data, prices increased 7.3 percent from the previous month after rising 5.5 percent in March. The annual inflation rate had already reached 61.14 percent in March.

The huge increase in prices is significantly fueled by higher energy costs, pushed upwards also by the decline in the value of the Turkish lira. The situation is aggravated by the Russian aggressive war against Ukraine; Russia and Ukraine are important to Turkey for the import of energy sources and grain respectively. According to TURKSTAT data (Turkish: TÜİK), the transport sector recorded the largest increase on an annual basis, followed by food and soft drinks and furniture and appliances.

High consumer prices have become one of the most important issues in Turkish politics in recent months. Despite rampant inflation in the country, the central bank recently left the benchmark interest rate unchanged. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an outspoken opponent of high interest rates, which are usually seen as an effective means of fighting inflation.

Experts suspect the rate will double

A good year before the presidential elections scheduled for June 2023, critics of the opposition ranks and some economists accuse the national statistical office TÜİK of glossing over the extent of inflation. Independent Turkish economists from the Inflation Research Group (ENAG) said that year-on-year inflation actually reached 156.86%, more than double the official rate.

In January, Erdogan promised to bring inflation back to the single digit “as soon as possible”. Last week he assured that “after the month of May” the rate will start to slow down.

Since the beginning of 2017, Turkey has been experiencing double-digit inflation rates almost continuously. But inflation has never been higher since Erdogan’s conservative Islamic party AKP came to power in late 2002.

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