Inflation has become Turkey's biggest economic challenge, hitting the pockets of ordinary people - and resulting in tit-for-tat accusations between producers and retailers who blame each other for the problem. Laura Frykberg reports.
In a busy food market in Istanbul, Gulsen Yuce weighs up the price of produce. Nowadays, she can't be too picky. A varied diet in Turkey costs too much. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) ISTANBUL RESIDENT, GULSEN YUCE, SAYING: "When the weather gets colder vegetable prices skyrocket. A head of lettuce is 5 lira. People can't afford it. Sometimes, even I can't afford it. We suffer economic hardship." Bread and red meat prices are proving the least palatable, both have increased more than 20 percent, whipping up inflation to its highest level in two years. Producers and retailers blame each other, while industry officials point to agriculture and livestock policies, weighed down by bureaucracy and middlemen. Turkey's economy minister has promised more imports to keep food affordable. It's also raised the minimum wage, not enough to satisfy economist Muammer Komurcuoglu though. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) ECONOMIST, IS INVESTMENT, MUAMMER KOMURCUOGLU SAYING: "While the rise in the minimum wage pushes up the lowest income group, price hikes impact them negatively. It's a vicious circle" That arguments resonates with Yuce. Who says she's paid with a spoon and taken with from a ladel. Global food prices may have fallen to their lowest in nearly seven years, but in Turkey they're now even more expensive than in recession-hit Russia. A fact many Turks are finding hard to swallow.