Turkey to introduce tighter controls, fines for steep price hikes

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Turkey's inflation police visits supermarkets to check the prices regularly. PHOTO: Bloomberg

The Turkish Interior Ministry on Thursday ordered governors across the country to impose tighter controls and fines on those imposing steep price hikes due to economic developments, Reuters reported.

Turkey’s economy has in recent weeks been battered by a currency crisis that saw the lira plunge more than 40 percent this year and inflation surge to nearly 25 percent, a 15-year high.

As prices rose across the board, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on Turks to report stores and “opportunists” that were excessively hiking prices and vowed to raid their stores if necessary.

Finance Minister Berat Albayrak on Tuesday also announced a plan to cut prices by 10 percent in an attempt to combat rising consumer prices.

On Thursday Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu sent a notice to governors in all 81 provinces asking for measures to be taken against those “taking advantage” of volatile exchange rates to hike prices, the ministry said in statement.

“It was determined that some storekeepers, firms and companies have in recent days imposed steep price hikes on products and services provided for citizens’ needs, that some products have been kept in stock to cause a hike in prices,” the ministry said.

“This has caused a situation that threatens the prosperity and well being of citizens,” it said, adding that those not complying with the new measures would be subject to fines.

The government had also previously made it illegal for companies to arbitrarily impose price increases if they were not impacted by a rise in input costs or the exchange rate.

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