Fruit becomes a luxury in Erdogan’s Turkey as inflation threatens re-election bid - FT

Fruit becomes a luxury in Erdogan’s Turkey as inflation threatens re-election bid - FT
Update: 08 July 2022 12:52
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The question is whether widespread hardship will herald the beginning of the end for the man who has dominated the country’s politics for almost two decades, the British newspaper said.

“There is no government that cannot be brought down by an empty cooking pot,” Financial Times reminded Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the country struggles with soaring annual inflation that hit nearly 80% in June. 

The Turkish proverb attributed to a former President has surged lately among the Turkish society agonized by a cost-of-living crisis.

“I’m not going anywhere near the fruit,” FT cited a 52-year-old civil servant who was shopping at an outdoor food market in Ankara. “It used to be a basic need, full of vitamins for the children. But now it’s a luxury.”

The British newspaper said the strong inflation was the result of low interest rate policies of the Turkish President who sacked three central bank governors in the past three years who marched out of step with him. 

“It is hard for Erdogan to win the next election. But voters have to know that alternative candidates or options will be able to solve the crisis,” FT cited Burak Bilgehan Ozpek, a political scientist at Ankara’s TOBB University, as saying.

Can Selcuki, director of the Turkiye Raporu polling agency, told FT his “baseline scenario” is now that Erdoğan will lose both the parliamentary and presidential elections. “He seems to be out of options.”

But much will ultimately depend on the stance of longstanding AKP (Justice and Developement Party) voters who are now wavering, FT said. The June Metropoll poll suggested that 16 percent of the electorate were either undecided, did not answer or planned to deploy a protest vote.