Turkey demands explanation from shops for rising food prices

Turkey’s Ministry of Commerce conducted price audits on 9,870 products in 562 businesses after public complaints about inflation in the prices of basic products, Milliyet reported on Thursday.

The ministry conducted the audit of prices across Turkey on Jan. 19-20 and is examining its findings. It has said that if it finds unjustified price increases, it will impose fines of between 10,000 to 100,000 Turkish lira. Those who have been found to be hoarding goods could be fined between 50,000 to 500,000 lira.

The Ministry of Trade’s Unfair Price Evaluation Board has looked at 3,208 cases to date. The board consists of representatives of the ministries of Justice, Treasury and Finance, Industry and Technology, Agriculture and Forestry, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges, Tradesmen and Artisans Confederation, producer and consumer organisations, and the retail sector.

The board has so far imposed fines of 11,885,000 Turkish liras on 375 companies which were considered to have made exorbitant price increases in basic necessities such as cleaning and hygiene products.

After complaints of exorbitant price increases for sunflower oil, eggs, chicken, baby food products, control over these products increased, the manufacturer, importer, supplier and some local and national markets that sell these products to consumers were asked to protect prices. As a result of the investigations, the necessary sanctions will be applied on those who are found to have caused an unfair price increase, Milliyet reported.

source: tradingeconomics.com

For context, the chart above shows inflation in Turkey over the past 25 years. Although the recent trend has seen inflation rise to 14.6 percent in December 2020, it was consistently over 20 percent from the late 1970s until the beginning of the 2000s, sometimes rising to over 100 percent.