President's chief advisor compares critics of onion prices to "ungrateful Israelites"
A chief advisor of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared people complaining of overpriced onion to Israelites, who complained of not having onion on their table after they were released of slavery by Moses.
In his article in government media Yeni Safak on Saturday, Yasin Aktan noted that opposition's main presidential candidate appeared on screen with an onion in his hand even when the world' first drone carrier was launched in Turkey and the first batch of Turkish-made car TOGG was supplied to buyers.
In a video released on Monday, Kemal Kilicdaroglu protested at onion being sold for 30 TL (approx. $1.5) per kilo, and warned that its price could even go as high as 100 TL. One of the staple foods in Turkey, onion is expected to be sold at a much lower price.
In his article titled "Symbolism of onion and freedom," Aktan said:
"The onion symbolism actually comes up in the Koran, which we frequently read now, in these days of Ramadan. Remember, Prophet Moses releases Israelites, who were enslaved and subjected to oppression by the Pharaoh, and guides them to their freedom through a long and arduous journey."
"Now they can enjoy freedom, a gift that will allow them to feel human dignity in all it fullness. But instead of appreciating this and expressing their gratitude, the Israelites confront Moses with all kinds of whims. First they ask him how they will fare in the mountains without water and food. They are once more granted a miracle, and manna and salva (halva and quail) rain from the sky. After a long period of pleasant idleness and freedom, they start complaining again, asking, "Are we supposed to eat the same things forever? Isn't there something else to eat? Onion, garlic, lentil?"
Pointing out that a focus on onion prices was actually a sign of of weariness and the expression of a desire for change, Aktan added:
"The change they want is not for a point ahead, for something better, for a more visionary perpective. It is a wish to head back to the past; a past in which slavery, atrocities, oppression, denial of existence await."
Food inflation in Turkey
While the global food prices slipped for a 12th consecutive month in March, the annual food inflation in Turkey was announced by the state statistics institute as 68%, although the figure is contested by experts who says it is much higher.