Presidency boasts about onion, potato distribution amid mass poverty

The Istanbul Governor's Office boasted about a project to distribute onions and potatoes to residents on April 13, as mass poverty across the country continues to strain household finances.

Deputy Istanbul Governor Bozkurt (C) is seen giving a speech at the onion and potato welcoming ceremony on April 13.

Duvar English

Ordered by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Istanbul Governor's Office held a ceremony to mark the distribution of onions and potatoes to some 164,000 households in the city on April 13. 

Erdoğan had revealed the project to distribute the produce during Ramadan on April 11, presenting the minor aid as a significant contribution to households. 

A district office of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had shared a video shortly after the president's statement that showed a group of potato farmers expressing gratitude for and praying for the good health of the president.

Deputy Istanbul Governor Özlem Gevrek Bozkurt noted during the potato and onion ceremony on April 13 that the project also aimed to subsidize farmers in Turkey, although the AKP is often viewed to be responsible for the financial strain on Turkish farmers for having expanded produce imports to include simple crops that could grow anywhere in the country. 

The aid package also coincides with extreme inflation in food prices in Turkey, the result of a steady increase in consumer prices during the COVID-19 pandemic that took the country under hold in March 2020. 

"Four of the 10 trucks that were loaded with potatoes in Niğde and Nevşehir have reached our city. We expect the other six to arrive later in the week," Bozkurt said. 

The produce will be distributed to 10 districts on the Asian side, the deputy governor said, listing off the Princes' Islands, the suburb of Ataşehir and the coastal districts of Kartal, Maltepe, Pendik, Sancaktepe, Sultanbeyli, Şile, Tuzla and Ümraniye.

Each family will receive 10 kilos of onions and 20 kilos of potatoes, the deputy governor added.