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Turkey’s ailing agriculture faces even bleaker future

Turkey's leaders are accusing grocers of price gouging amid soaring food prices, but refuse to acknowledge the cause of the problem: the country’s shrinking agricultural supply.
A worker drives in the Pendore vineyard run by Kavaklidere wines during the harvest in the western Turkish village of Kemaliye in the Aegean region, August 28, 2009. REUTERS/Murad Sezer (TURKEY SOCIETY) - GM1E58T02GR01
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Soaring food prices have emerged as one of Turkey’s gravest economic woes, and everyone seems to agree now that food inflation will be a major factor in the March 31 local elections. True to style, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has sought to rein in the prices through coercive measures, refusing to acknowledge the core of the problem.

In November, the authorities raided onion depots at the behest of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who blamed hoarders for the surging price of onions, a key staple of Turkish cuisine. The raids, however, failed to bring the prices down and ultimately, the government had to zero down tariffs on onions to cheapen imports.

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