As inflation soars, Turkish newlyweds stock up on food and dream of traveling


IZMIR, Turkey, Dec 21 (Reuters) – Ezgi and Cagri Bektas Dag had been hoping to travel and treat themselves to some luxuries after their May wedding.

Instead, the couple from Izmir, western Turkey, are spending an increasing share of their money – and free time – stocking up on non-perishable food as they try to keep a length ahead of the fall of the pound and the relentless rise in inflation.

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

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This includes a kitchen stocked with 1.5 years of cooking oil.

“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 component factory. “We continue to stock up even before consuming our stocks because prices are rising every day.”

Currently at 21% – and much higher for commodities – Turkey‘s annual inflation is expected to reach 30% next year while, at its weakest on Monday, the lira had lost well over 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 about $600, about half of which they say they spend on groceries.

People line up to buy vegetables sold at a tent set up by the municipality in the Bayrampasa district of Istanbul, Turkey, February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

The massive book sale was sparked by steep interest rate cuts orchestrated – 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 swings, causing the lira to rally as Turks sold dollars. But analysts are skeptical whether the plan will stabilize things for long. Read more

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

When they started recording their shopping expeditions, they were worried.

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

“At the moment, our only fear is that if we have a child one day, what if we can’t offer him a better future?”

($1 = 12.3530 lira)

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Written by Yesim Dikmen; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and John Stonestreet

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