The Turkish Statistics Foundation (TÜIK) has announced that consumer inflation as 9.1 percent between February 2007 and February 2008.
However, when one looks at surveys of consumers, it becomes apparent that the inflation has been higher as far as food and rent costs are concerned.
70 percent of income on basic necessities
According to such surveys, low and medium income families spend around 35 percent of their income on food and another 35 percent on rent and expenditures like heating, water, etc.
Therefore, it is the increase in these costs that is most relevant to around 60 percent of Turkey’s population.
Just as rents have risen by an average of 16 percent, electricity, and gas have risen by 17 and 8 percent respectively. The price of gas cylinders has risen by 18 percent, and the price of coal by 7 percent.
When one looks at around 130 foods, an average inflation of 13.1 percent emerges. Some goods have increased a lot more, such as lemons, whose price has risen by a staggering 126.5 percent, or spinach, which has risen by 45.7 percent.
Bread, pasta, oil, dairy products...
The following list shows goods which have all risen by more than the average, many of them being basic items in Turkish kitchens.
- Lemons 126.5
- Quinces 80.8
- Spinach 45.7
- Lentils 44.6
- Sunflower oil 44.2
- Oranges 35.2
- Honey 35.1
- Pasta 32.0
- Chicken 26.7
- Butter 25.5
- Carrots 23.7
- Wheat flower 21.8
- Dried beans 20.0
- White cheese 19.7
- Water 19.6
- Bread 18.7
- Yoghurt 17.4
- Tomato paste 16.9
Some goods have shown a lower than average increase in price, such as red meat, some vegetables and pulses and sugar. However, chicken, bread, cheese, oil, citrus fruits and cigarettes have increased in price by between 20 and 30 percent.
Tomatoes, apples, eggs, garlic, potatoes, onions and fish have actually become cheaper in the last year.
There has been a lower increase in the price of bananas (1.8 percent), tea (4.5 percent), jam (4.1 percent), olives (5.4 percent), and cucumbers (6.3 percent).
In summary, the officially announced inflation rate of 9.1 for consumers is actually higher as far as basic foods and costs of the home, including rent, are concerned. The “kitchen inflation” can be said to be higher than 25 percent, and rents were raised by 16 percent.
For those income groups who spend up to 70 percent of their income on food, rent and bills, this has meant pulling the belt tighter once again.