Ankara Pita and Simit Sellers Chamber Chair Savaş Delibaş on Feb. 1 said they delayed the 50 percent hike in the prices of simit (Turkish bagel with sesame seeds) until after the local elections upon the instruction of the Trade Ministry.
The chamber previously applied a 50 percent hike, making the price of a simit 15 liras in the capital province.
Delibaş told the daily Sözcü that they “are now forced to sell simits below cost,” which is at 11.2 liras. He said they would apply a 25 percent hike in the next week, making the price of a simit 12.5 liras, and they would once again adjust the price after the elections to be held on March 31.
“Why should we hike prices if they were stable? There is an expectation of a hike in everything after the elections. We will also have to raise prices reluctantly,” Delibaş said.
Delibaş said the Governor’s Office first accepted their 50 percent hike, but he was called by Deputy Trade Minister Mahmut Gürcan after the announcement of the hike.
“He asked why we raised the prices. I reminded him about the price increases. I showed the deputy minister the cost calculated by the experts of the Agriculture Ministry. According to their calculation, the cost was 12.7 liras. That is higher than the cost we had determined. He asked us to postpone the hike. He even made some statements that upset and offended us,” Delibaş said.
“I apologized to our people and announced that we have reversed the hike. The reason for my apology is this: We made a cost calculation, we got the approval of this, but we apologized to our people and sellers because we were instructed to do so,” he added.
Turkey's official statistical authority, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK), reported the annual inflation rate as 64.77 percent for 2023 while the independent inflation group ENAG put the figure at 127.21 percent.
Millions of Turks cannot make ends meet amid soaring cost of living and the prices are expected to hike further after the local elections.