Some Turkish bakeries stop selling bread, demand a price hike

Some bakeries and grocery stores in the Turkish capital Ankara stopped selling bread on Thursday, after the Ministry of Commerce vetoed a 25 percent price increase demanded by the Federation of Bakeries, Sputnik Turkish reported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan this week called on consumers to report retailers who introduce big price rises after annual inflation jumped to more than 24 percent.

Bakeries want to increase the price of bread, which is controlled by authorities, as the price of flour has risen due to the fall in the value of the lira.

The governor of Istanbul also announced that prices of bread in the city would not be increased and warned that bakeries selling bread at higher prices would have to pay a fine.

Cihan Kolivar, the head of the Union of Bread Industry Employers, said officials should decrease the price of flour, instead of keeping the price of bread constant. 

“The governor cannot decide at what price I sell bread. The governor is not my partner. Even my partner cannot decide. I calculate my expenses and sell at the price I want to,” Kolivar told Sözcü newspaper. 

Bakery owners in the coastal city of Izmir also protested the Federation of Bakeries Izmir branch’s decision not to raise prices.

Sözcü newspaper said the authorities were closely following the price of bread, as it had a significant effect on inflation. Bread has a weight of 2.1 percent in the basket used to calculate the consumer price index. 

“We established special desks to track some goods. We are particularly following the prices of 25 goods which have a higher weight in the inflation basket,” Bloomberg HT quoted Agriculture Minister Bekir Pakdemirli as saying.

Pakdemirli also said that the Agriculture Ministry would open a tender for flour imports to keep the prices of bread constant.