In remarks that raised eyebrows, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the country’s inflation, which currently stands at more than 80 percent, will fall to around 40 percent in a few months and to 20 percent in 2023, Turkish media reported.
“It’s obvious that annual inflation will fall to the 40 percent level in a couple of months. We’re determined to take whatever action is necessary to bring inflation down to 20 percent by the end of 2023 and to single digits in 2024,” Erdoğan said following a Cabinet meeting on Monday.
Turkey’s inflation slowed in November for the first time since May 2021, declining to 84.39 percent, easing from a peak of 85.51 percent a month earlier, according to data from state statistics agency TurkStat.
Yet many question Turkey’s official statistics, which are produced by an agency whose leader has been replaced by Erdoğan twice in the past year.
According to a well-regarded monthly study released by independent economists from Turkey’s ENAG research institute, the annual rate of consumer price increases reached 170.70 percent in November.
A separate poll earlier this year showed that the overwhelming majority of Turks believe the ENAG figures over the numbers released by the government.
Turkey’s inflation has risen steadily since reaching a low of 16.6 percent in May 2021.
The country’s troubled economy has turned into a major stumbling block on Erdoğan’s path to a third decade in power in a presidential election slated for June.
Erdoğan’s approval rating began to suffer when he embarked on an unusual economic experiment last year that tried to bring down chronically high consumer prices by lowering borrowing costs.
Conventional economic theory embraced by almost every other big nation pursues the exact opposite approach.
Turkey’s lira began to drop in value almost immediately, as consumers rushed to buy up dollars and gold to try and protect their savings.
The price of imports such as oil and gas soared, creating an inflationary spiral that the nominally independent central bank fed further by continuing to lower interest rates.
Erdoğan has maintained that his unwavering focus on economic growth at all costs — achieved through cheap lending and state support — will eventually pay off.
Erdoğan has blamed inflation on outside factors such as the global spike in food and energy prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.