Reuters - As the lira's plunge in value and surging inflation erode Turks' earnings, many people in Istanbul have taken to waiting in line for the municipality's cheap bread as they scrimp to make small savings in their household budgets.
In the city's Sultangazi district, a traditional stronghold for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), dozens waited to buy bread at a kiosk run by the municipality, saying growing economic woes left them no choice.
"The people now are in such a tight spot that we count every one, five, 10, 20 lira," said Ozcan Kethuda, 50, after buying bread for his family.
He blamed the government for the hardship.
"The government must change because for 20 years there has been the same system," he said. "Most people here may say ‘long live my sultan’, but that period is over. Those who, together with me, voted for the AKP are also facing difficulties."
Ramazan Kambay said his family's economic situation had worsened sharply. They used to get by on 1,000 lira a week, half going on food. With the collapse in the lira, that is now worth just $73 - no longer sufficient for their needs.
"If you get 1,000 a week it's not enough," he said. "Who are we supposed to blame for this?"