People shop at a local market in Ankara, Türkiye, Nov. 3, 2023. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)
by Burak Akinci
ANKARA, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- Drinking Turkish tea with a simit, a sesame seeds encrusted bagel, is a tradition in Turkish culture. However, the popular food duo, whose price more than doubled over the past year, has become a bitter taste of staggering inflation for ordinary Turks.
"The price of everything has skyrocketed: One cup of tea now costs 10 liras (0.35 U.S. dollar), and one simit is also 10 liras. Everyone is complaining about this situation," Huseyin Pence, an 84-year-old pensioner from the low-income district of Dikmen in the capital city of Ankara, told Xinhua.
The central bank on Thursday lifted its inflation forecasts for this year and 2024 to 65 and 36 percent respectively, up from 58 and 33 percent.
Türkiye's food prices increased by 76 percent nominally since last year, ranking 4th in the World Bank's food price inflation list. Official forecasts predicted that consumer prices are set to peak in 2024.
A woman shops at a local market in Ankara, Türkiye, Nov. 3, 2023. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)
Younger generations also feel the pinch of high prices.
Irem Eroglu, a 21-year-old computer programming university student said she cannot make ends meet with the modest allowance she receives from her parents.
"I was receiving 100 liras (3.5 dollars) a week, but now the same amount doesn't cover my expenses," she complained.
The cash-strapped student added she had to photocopy books as she could not afford the expensive originals.
In October, the poverty threshold for a family of four rose to 44,573 liras, according to a report published on Wednesday by TURK-IS, a leading worker's union.
A man counts Turkish liras at an exchange office in Ankara, Türkiye, on Aug. 24, 2023. (Mustafa Kaya/Handout via Xinhua)
Nearly 60 percent of Türkiye's working force earns the monthly minimum wage of 11,400 liras, largely below the poverty line, Istanbul-based economist Iris Cibre said in a post on X.
"Many household incomes are insufficient in the face of staggering inflation, and impoverishment has become a major issue in Türkiye," she stressed.
To address the cost-of-living blow, the Turkish government has increased pensions and the minimum wage several times during the past months of 2023, and the amount is set to increase again in the coming months. ■