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Turkey’s sugar privatization faces bitter opposition

The Turkish government’s plan to privatize 14 sugar plants has sparked nationwide protests, irking not only factory workers and local communities but also Turkish consumers in general.
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A year and a half ago, Turkish Finance Minister Naci Agbal voiced reservations about selling off publicly owned sugar plants, which had long been slated for privatization. Speaking in the rural province of Corum in September 2016, Agbal stressed that the chain of production in sugar plants involved local sugar beet suppliers, meaning that whole communities living on agriculture could be affected. “When it comes to privatizing sugar factories, one has to think 40 times,” he said.

Whether the government thought it over 40 times remains unknown, but on Feb. 20, the Prime Ministry Privatization Administration announced its intention to sell off some of the 25 plants of the publicly owned Turkish Sugar Factories Company (Turkseker).

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