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Turkey suspends customs tariffs on onion exports until Feb. 28 as crisis looms

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Turkey has suspended customs tariffs on onion exports until Feb. 28 as the country has been experiencing high inflation, particularly in the price of onions, a staple of Turkish cuisine.

A presidential order suspending the tariffs was published in the Official Gazette on Tuesday.

As Turkey will hold local elections in March, some observers regard the move as a ploy to retain public support for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s party.

In November Turkish police raided dozens of warehouses on suspicion of stockpiling produce such as potatoes and onions as part an “all-out war” on high inflation.

The raids came after remarks made by Erdoğan targeting wholesalers who were hoarding basic goods amid a currency crisis the country experienced last year.

According to some Turkish media reports, public outrage has been recently sparked due to the skyrocketing prices of onions and potatoes. In some markets, the price of a kilo of onions has doubled, the reports said.

Erdoğan previously called wholesalers “opportunists” for benefiting from the crisis, although he was hesitant to admit that there have been economic problems in the country.

Producers, on the other hand, have complained about disease in this year’s harvest.

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