Out the frying pan into the fire: Turkey’s surging cooking oil prices

Turkish citizens maintained their sense of humour about the price increase for cooking oil on social media on Wednesday, as news reports suggested the price was set to increase higher following an almost 150 percent price hike in certain oils over the past year.

“Another 20 percent increase in sunflower oil is on the way”

“Oil industrialists, who had to import raw materials, could not yet reflect the latest increase in shelf prices,” Sol news site cited Tahir Büyükhelvacıgil, president of the Association of Vegetable Oil Industrialists (BSYD), as saying in a 2020 assessment.

Büyükhelvacıgil related the crisis to the decrease in value of the Turkish lira, a drop in production in countries which export inputs for vegetable oil, and to inflation of commodity prices caused by the United States.

“The lack of this product continues to be a problem. Last year, core prices came up to 5,400 liras per ton, and the price of crude oil exceeded the limit of 10,000 lira per ton. This is not only due to the deficiency in our country, but also due to drought in producers such as Russia and Ukraine, there was a 20-25 percent decrease in production,’’ he said.

“While the price of crude oil was around 700 dollars per ton, it has reached the level of 1325 dollars as of today. These are scary. There was a tremendous trend in commodity prices with the printing of the dollar for free,” he added.

“Good news: Sunflower oil reserves enough for 50 years in Turkey in the Black Sea ..”

Some commentators argued that the government should fix the prices of common essential food items, with columnist Süleyman Özışık complaining in Turkiye newspaper that, “the price of everything from electricity to water, from natural gas to building dues has skyrocketed.”

Others compared the price of 10 litres of oil in Germany (9.9 euros) to the price in Turkey (160 liras/17.80 euros).

One Twitter user compared images of the same size of oil container, saying that the price had increased from 35 to 85 liras within a year: “5 liters of sunflower oil in one year 142% increase!”

Some Turkish citizens are managing to keep a sense of humour despite the economic pressures, however, with one Twitter user suggesting that it could be a romantic gesture to buy one’s partner a carton of vegetable oil.

“O workers
be a little romantic
Make little surprises for your loved ones
For example, buy a sunflower oil today
Don't be so callous and stingy
Will you take that minimum wage, that much money to the grave?”