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According to official data released on 4 July, consumer prices in Turkey increased by five percent in June, bringing annual inflation to 78.6 percent.
Inflation is being fueled by the devaluation of the Turkish lira, which began in September last year as a result of Ankara’s controversial economic strategy that promotes growth by pushing the central bank to cut interest rates.
Experts believe that inflation could top 100 percent by the fall.
The highest price hikes in June were in the transport sector, which increased by 10 percent on a monthly basis, and reached 123 percent within a year.
Fuel prices rose by 22 percent in June, with annual food inflation nearly reaching 94 percent.
Despite Turkey’s declining economy, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refuses to prioritize an anti-inflation policy.
With elections bound for 2023, Erdogan opposes measures he says would shrink markets and increase unemployment.
“Part of the [inflation] problem is that some citizens are insisting on keeping their savings in foreign currencies, and the other part is the imported input due to increasing production,” Erdogan said.
He also urged households to take advantage of low-rate loans and to invest.
“Those who benefit from the exchange rate, interest, and inflation triangle do not understand our country’s growth strategy through investment, employment, production, and current account surplus,” the president noted.
Late last year, the Turkish lira shed nearly 50 percent of its value against the US dollar. The drop has resulted in a sharp rise in import costs for companies and households.
According to opposition leaders, Erdogan has put pressure on the national statistics agency to downplay the surge in prices, in order to sway political support ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The most recent opinion polls show that, if elections were held today, at least 55 percent of voters would cast their ballots in favor of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
These also show Erdogan losing by a significant margin to three potential CHP candidates.