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News > Turkey

Turkish Supermarket Deserted Amid Ever-increasing Food Prices

  • The photo shows milk, bread and some vegetables sold in Turkey on Dec. 17, 2021.

    The photo shows milk, bread and some vegetables sold in Turkey on Dec. 17, 2021. | Photo: Xinhua/shadati

Published 27 May 2022

A supermarket in Istanbul, once thronged with shoppers for a great variety of goods, is now completely desolated as inflation drove the prices out of reach.

The store was almost emptied at noon on Thursday. A few shoppers checked the latest price tags on the shelves and then walked away with empty shopping bags, while employees complained that sales had dropped too much as the prices "went crazy."

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Dairy products have all skyrocketed regardless of brands, after the Turkish National Dairy Council adjust the benchmark price of raw milk up by more than 30 percent.

The price of a kilo of white cheese, an indispensable item on Turkish breakfast tables, has increased from 80 Turkish liras (about 4.27 U.S. dollars) to at least 120 liras, while a kilo of old cheddar hits 195 liras on some brands.

"I cut my purchase as much as possible. If I buy white cheese, I don't look at cheddar cheese or any other product," a mother told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The woman said she gave up buying a six-pack of 200-ml organic milk after it went up from 30 liras to 53 liras, even though that was her son's staple diary.

"Prices are flying high. We can't do much with these salaries," she lamented, noting that the monthly minimum wage of millions of workers in the country is 4,250 liras.

A cheese counter attendant complained about the sharp sales decline, especially after the latest price hikes in dairy products.

"If the good old days had remained, you couldn't find a moment to interview me due to the crowd  ... you see, now there is almost no one as people's purchasing power has dwindled," he said, declining to give his name.

Sevda Alkin, a frequenter of the market, intended to buy a couple of bottles of milk for her two grandchildren, but she abandoned the plan after seeing the prices of the chosen brand is 22 liras, up from 15 liras a month ago.

"My grandsons drink a glass of milk every evening, but it seems that we can hardly afford it anymore," she said.

Rosalina is a foreigner who came to Turkey 22 years ago for a decent job with a good salary. Now she considers going back to her country, as her income has long melted against rising inflation.

Turkey's annual inflation jumped to 69.97 percent in April, reaching a two-decade high, the Turkish Statistical Institute has announced on May 5.

The highest annual price surge was in the transportation sector with 105.86 percent, while the cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks increased 89.1 percent, it said.

Turkey is undergoing financial woes unseen in decades, with the Turkish lira losing half its value last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Russia-Ukraine conflict also worsened the situation, pushing commodities prices to new highs.

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