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Erdoğan claims ‘enemies’ now trying to bring Turkey down with high produce prices

Turkish President and leader of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during his party's parliamentary group meeting at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara, Turkey on October 23, 2018. AFP PHOTOS

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at an election rally in Kastamonu on Tuesday said outside forces that could not bring Turkey down by means of high interest rates and foreign currency are now trying to do it with high produce prices.

Refraining from naming any of Turkey’s elusive “enemies,” Erdoğan said, “They realized that they could not succeed in cornering Turkey by means of perception politics, foreign exchange rates and interest rates, so they’re now trying to do it by means of onions, eggplants and cucumbers.

Erdoğan claimed that Turkey has been targeted by “food terrorism,” in reference to increases in the price of produce. He said that as a solution his government, which has been in power since 2002, had opened produce stalls with discounted prices through government subsidies.

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 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.

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