Erdoğan tells retailers they are not targeted in fight against high food prices
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that the government’s aim is not to become rivals to merchants but rather fight against “opportunists” selling food at high prices, amid a new implementation that has set municipalities to sell fruits and vegetables directly to consumers.
“We have started this to teach a lesson to opportunists. These will not be needed when [opportunists] come round. We are not here to put people’s lifelines at stake, we are teaching a lesson to those profiteers,” he said at a meeting with merchants in the capital Ankara.
“Merchants and craftsmen mostly will benefit from our action against opportunists,” he added.
Erdoğan also stressed that citizens are happy with the new municipal implementation because prices have “fallen by half.”
“When we made a call to grocery store chains to reduce prices, they did not respond. But when we commenced the implementation, they decreased the prices,” he added.
“That’s why we decided to sell food via municipalities. We have made this decision to prevent middlemen from selling products at high prices,” he said.
The president also said that there are around 1.7 million merchants and craftsmen registered at over 3,000 chambers, and the majority of their difficulties centered around financing.
“Our only aim is to relieve merchants and craftsmen and help them see their future more clearly,” Erdoğan said.
“Up until this day, we provided credits amounting to 100 billion Turkish Liras [around $19 million] to two million merchants,” he added.
“We are paving the way to develop policies that are realistic, applicable and sustainable by making sectoral analyses,” the president said.
Erdoğan emphasized that the system is significant to prevent such problems from happening.
“If merchants and craftsmen remove the rotten apples among themselves then the state will not feel the need to intervene,” he said.
The president added that this implementation could extend to expensive cleaning products and legumes.
“After the [March] election, [craftsmen] will meet with municipal organizations, the Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen and relevant ministries. Maybe, we can take steps to extend these works to the back of the beyond,” he said.