Turkey’s leading supermarket chains (Şok, Migros, CarrefourSA, A101, BİM, Happy Center) have announced that they fixed prices for thousands of products during January.
The chains said that they fixed prices for especially staple food products “to fight with inflation” in separate announcements.
Grocery chain Şok was the first to announce the move, saying that they fixed prices for 1000 products to “contribute to the country's economy and the budget of customers.”
Migros and CarrefourSA also announced that they cut prices for 3000 and 20,000 products respectively.
Turkish Finance and Treasury Minister Nureddin Nebati said on Jan. 5 that “Dear friends who fix prices. I congratulate them from the bottom of my heart. I also call on all our businesses to implement similar practices.”
Fiyat sabitlemesi yapan ve çok sayıda üründe indirimlere giden işletmelerimizi yürekten tebrik ediyorum.— Dr.Nureddin NEBATİ🇹🇷 (@NureddinNebati) January 5, 2023
Tüm işletmelerimize benzer uygulamaları hayata geçirmeleri için de çağrıda bulunuyorum. pic.twitter.com/XfUMeqkqjR
Critics say that this practice of fixed price is mainly implemented in cheaper productions.
Turkish economist Hayri Kozanoğlu told daily Sözcü that this practice will make consumers buy poor quality, inadequate products. “People are condemned to a poor quality life,” he added.
These moves came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and officials from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) blamed chains for rising inflation.
Previously, Erdoğan’s ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli claimed that supermarket chains have connections with “FETÖ,” the group widely believed to have orchestrated the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt, which is officially called the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). For a few years, pro-government figures have been blaming every kind of dissident for having connections with the Gülen network.
“We also believe that the relationship of the market chains that constantly hike prices with FETÖ should be carefully investigated,” Bahçeli said on Nov. 22 during his party’s parliamentary group meeting.
Then, Erdoğan said on Nov. 30 that “We will tighten the controls on market chains, we will find ways to eliminate price differences, we will monitor them.”
Pro-government retail company BİM’s Executive Board Member Galip Aykaç responded to Bahçeli’s claims and said on Dec. 1 that “We have something to say to the party leaders who threaten us with FETÖ. The people of this country did not respect your lies in any way.”
Later, Aykaç had to resign from the presidency of the Food Retailers Association.
During this period, some BİM branches were sealed by mayorships ruled by the AKP.
On Dec. 26, Turkish Trade Minister Mehmet Muş said in a tweet that he had a meeting with the managers of the four chains that have the most branches in Turkey and “warned them” for not increasing prices after the minimum wage hike.
Ülkemizde en fazla şubeye sahip 4 ulusal zincir marketin genel müdürleriyle bir araya gelerek asgari ücret zammı sonrası etiket fiyatlarıyla ilgili uyarılarda bulunduk.— Dr. Mehmet Muş (@mehmedmus) December 26, 2022
Piyasa düzenini ve işleyişini bozmaya dönük haksız fiyat artışlarına asla müsaade etmeyeceğiz. pic.twitter.com/iqg8oGRaHr
For December, the government-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) reported an annual inflation rate of 64.27, whereas the independent inflation group ENAG put the figure at 137.55%.
Majority of Turkish citizens cannot make ends meet amid skyrocketing inflation.