Turkey’s inflation drops sharply in boost for Erdoğan

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The fall could help president ahead of elections but is unlikely to ease the strain on Turkish people.

Turkey’s inflation slowed sharply in December, in a development that could help President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ahead of the country’s national elections – but may not be felt by ordinary Turks.

The consumer price index rose by 64.27 percent in December, the Turkish Statistical Institute announced today, in the second monthly drop in a row, down from 84.39 percent in November.

“We have closed the year 2022 by achieving a consumer inflation even below the medium-term target,” Erdoğan said during a speech in Ankara in which he announced a 25 percent rise in public sector wages and pensions.

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“Our goal is to remove the inflation bubble this year and remove it completely from our country’s agenda, starting next year.”

The fall is mainly due to the fact that a high rate in the same period 12 months earlier naturally makes inflation push statistically lower. So for normal Turkish households it’s unlkely to ease the cost of living – even if it does deliver Erdoğan good news.

The Inflation Research Group, made up of independent academics and experts, said the country’s true inflation rate for December is almost double at 137.55 percent.  

Inflation hit a 24-year high of 85.5 percent last October, mainly due to Erdoğan’s unorthodox low interest-rate monetary policy.

Unlike central banks around the world that raised interest rates to bring soaring inflation under control, last year Turkey’s central bank slashed interest rates by 5 percentage points, down to 9 percent.

Turkey is scheduled to have presidential and parliamentary elections on June 18, but the government is considering holding them earlier.

“Since this date corresponds with summer holiday season when people are travelling, we are evaluating bringing the date slightly forward,” ruling AK Party spokesperson Omer Celik said on Monday.