Skip to main content

Shocking price jump in Turkish onions makes voters' eyes water

The price of onions, the quintessential Turkish staple, has shot up days before Turkey's parliamentary and presidential elections, sparking outrage that may benefit the opposition and feeding conspiracy theories left and right.
A young migrant worker collects onions during a harvest in Omerlerkoy village, 20 km (12 miles) southwest of Ankara, August 17, 2006. Settlements of plastic tents supported by wooden poles sprout up across the Turkish countryside during the harvest months, when an estimated 6 million workers travel long distances to work on commercial farms. Picture taken August 17, 2006. To match feature TURKEY-MIGRANTS  REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY) - GM1DTVAITJAA

Onions are the staple of most Turkish dishes and if one is poor, together with a loaf of bread, one can constitute a meal. Thus news that the price of onions has skyrocketed to seven liras ($1.5) per kilo serves as handy ammunition for the country’s opposition ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary and presidential elections.

The anti-government leftist daily Cumhuriyet posted footage of disgruntled customers at an open air market who left empty handed because prices “burned” their hands. “I will have to cook without onions and just imagine their aroma,” said one. A vendor fumed, “It's incomprehensible. [The government’s] agriculture policy has failed.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.