As inflation skyrockets, Turkish newlyweds stock up on food, dream of travel


By Ezgi Erkoyun and Yesim Dikmen

IZMIR, Turkey (Reuters) – Ezgi and Cagri Bektas Dag hoped to travel and indulge in a few luxuries after they tied the knot in May.

Instead, the couple from Izmir, western Turkey, are spending more and more money – and free time – to stock up on non-perishable items as they try to keep a step ahead of the collapse of the pound and ever-increasing inflation.

They spend hours researching constantly changing prices and checking before every visit to the supermarket, then share their experiences with over 1,000 subscribers on a YouTube feed they launched a few months ago.

This includes a kitchen filled with cooking oil for a year and a half.

“Sometimes we don’t even need a product, but we say, let’s buy it on sale because the price will go up anyway,” says Cagri Bektas, who works in a metal components factory. “We continue to source our supplies even before consuming our stocks because prices are rising every day. “

Currently at 21% – and much higher for basic necessities – Turkish annual inflation is expected to rise to 30% next year while at its lowest level on Monday, the pound had lost more than half of its value against hard currencies so far this year.

This reduced the dollar value of the couple’s joint monthly income from 8,000 lira to around $ 600, of which about half say they spend on groceries.

The sale of the lira was sparked by steep interest rate cuts designed – in the face of widespread criticism from businesses and economists – by President Tayyip Erdogan.

On Monday, Erdogan unveiled a plan to protect local currency savings from market fluctuations, causing the pound to rally as the Turks sell off dollars. But analysts are skeptical whether the plan will stabilize things for long.

“I feel really, really sad because I think to myself that we could have traveled and seen other places instead of paying so much money for this (stuff),” said Ezgi, a 25-year-old teacher.

When they started recording their races, they were worried.

“We thought people could judge us. But we realized that they shouldn’t, they should be judging those who put us in this position in the first place, ”Cagri Bektas said.

“Right now our only fear is that if we ever have a child, what if we can’t give them a better future? “

($ 1 = 12.3530 lire)

(Written by Yesim Dikmen; edited by Jonathan Spicer and John Stonestreet)


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