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Turkey kicks off municipality-sponsored sale of produce to fight inflation

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Several reports on Monday indicated that the Turkish government has put into practice the sale of fruits and vegetables by municipalities in İstanbul and in the capital city of Ankara in an effort to stop the constant increase in food prices.

Work is underway for the establishment of 50 planned points of sale in İstanbul, while 15 have been launched in Ankara.

The sale of produce was promised by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been blaming wholesalers and retailers for the recent inflation.

“Prices have been cut in half through these sales. We won’t stop there, we’ll do the same with household cleaning products,” Erdoğan said in Ankara.

Erdoğan’s accusations toward the produce sector had turned particularly harsh in his speeches on the campaign trail for Turkey’s local elections slated for March 31.

“We will vanquish those who terrorize the markets just like we have obliterated the terrorists in the mountains,” Erdoğan vowed on Sunday at another campaign event in İstanbul.

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Bekir Pakdemirli announced that they were working on a project to expand the sales to the Internet by developing an app that allows orders of fruits and vegetables online, the T24 news website reported.

The prices offered at these points of sale are half or less than half the national average, the Diken news website reported, citing figures by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat).

Onions are sold for TL 2 per kilogram in Ankara, while the January countrywide average was TL 4.9 per kilogram. Tomatoes fell from TL 6 to TL 3, potatoes from TL 3.6 to TL 2, eggplant from TL 9.3 to TL 4.5, cucumbers from TL 5.9 to TL 4 and peppers from TL 9.8 to TL 6.

Weight limitations on purchases are being imposed so as to prevent abuse and exploitation.

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