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Erdoğan announces yet another round of VAT cuts

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced cuts to the value-added tax (VAT) on a number products to fight inflation, which has surged to a 20-year high, Turkish media reported on Monday. 

“We have decided to reduce the VAT on products such as detergent, soap, toilet paper, table napkins and diapers from 18 percent to 8 percent,” he said.

Erdoğan also said his government had introduced VAT cuts for the hospitality and food sectors, adding that they have “reduced the financing burden on the construction sector by cutting the VAT to 8 percent for plots of land.”

The measures announced by Erdoğan include steps to facilitate the way exporters benefit from VAT exemptions.

In a similar move Erdoğan in February slashed sales tax on dairy products, fruit, vegetables and other basic food items from 8 percent to 1 percent in an effort to fight inflation.

Inflation hit 54.4 percent in January, the highest level in 20 years, i.e., since Erdoğan’s Islamic-rooted party came to power two decades ago.

Erdoğan recently replaced the head of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) for the fourth time since 2019.

Turkish media reported that he was unhappy with the inflation figures it published.

The opposition and some economists believe the official figures grossly underestimate the reality.

Over the past several years, Turkey has been suffering from backsliding in its economy, with high inflation and unemployment as well as a poor human rights record.

Erdoğan is criticized for mishandling the economy, emptying the state’s coffers and establishing one-man rule in the country, where dissent is suppressed and opponents are jailed on politically motivated charges.

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