Annual inflation rose to 19.58 in September from 19.25 per cent in August, according to the official data published on Monday.
Turkey’s economy was already vulnerable last year with the coronavirus outbreak and a deepening current account deficit, and the import-reliant nation’s woes have been exacerbated by lockdowns and health restrictions, reports Xinhua news agency.
While the Turkish economy grew 21.7 per cent in the second quarter of 2021 year on year, the country’s economic prospects remain fragile, observers said.
The Turkish lira is at its lowest in history after the central bank delivered a surprise 100 basis point rate cut on September 23 despite high inflation.
Turks are feeling the sting of higher prices. Gas and electricity prices have seen regular hikes, heavily raising the cost of living in the country.
“There isn’t a single good whose price didn’t go up. The increase in our salaries is not matching this rise. Thus we get poorer by the month,” said Ibrahim Ayberk, an accountant in the capital city Ankara’s Yildizevler neighborhood.
“Because of my profession, I witness personally that the increase in food prices is over 20 percent since the start of this year,” he insisted. “Some fruits such as strawberries or figs have become luxury items.”
Apartment rent rates have gone up by over 50 per cent in Istanbul, the country’s most populous city of over 16 million, in a year, driving civil servants to seek government appointments to cheaper cities, according to reports.
To rein in food prices, the Turkish government is waging a war against speculation and has launched an investigation into the country’s five biggest supermarket chains after they were blamed for the soaring prices.
The price increases at these supermarkets “disrupt entire markets”, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week.
Erdogan earlier promised that Turkey would get surging prices under control and the government would prevent “unreasonable” price hikes.
The Turkish leader called on Sunday agricultural credit cooperatives to combat food inflation.
He said the government has instructed cooperatives to open 1,000 new markets nationwide to provide cheap goods.