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Erdoğan says shelves in US, Europe empty while Turkey enjoys abundance

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Despite the rising cost of living and increasing prices in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Turkey has been enjoying an abundance of consumer goods while supermarket shelves in Europe and the US are empty.

Erdoğan, who spoke at the inauguration of a national garden in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Thursday, said the coronavirus pandemic and problems in the supply chain showed the fragility of some countries that portray themselves as the leaders of the global system. He said, however, Turkey has never experienced such supply chain problems and has been enjoying abundance under the rule of the Public Alliance, referring to his Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

“The [supermarket] shelves in the UK, Europe and the US are empty, while we continue to enjoy abundance,” Erdoğan said, complaining that it is hard for “ungrateful” people including the opposition parties to comprehend this.

Erdoğan’s remarks come at a time of dwindling support for him and his party due to the financial problems caused by rising inflation and the depreciation of the Turkish lira.

Turkey’s annual inflation rose to 19.58 percent in September, its highest in two-and-a-half years, and month-on-month consumer prices rose 1.25 percent, the Turkish Statistical Institute said earlier this month.

The net minimum wage announced for 2021 in Turkey is TL 2,826 ($296), which is the lowest figure in US dollars for a monthly net minimum wage in the last 11 years.

Apart from food and rent, Turks are feeling the sting of higher prices for electricity and building materials.

Yet, Erdoğan blames “opportunists” for the rising cost of basic services and frequently claims Turkey is doing far better than Western countries in the supply of food.

He raised eyebrows when he said earlier this month that the people of Germany and France can’t find food and are waiting in line for it.

“Do you see the current state of the US and Britain? They don’t have gas,” Erdoğan said.

“There are lines in Germany and France. They can’t find food. Thank God we don’t have that in our country,” he claimed.

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