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?"
For Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, seen as a potential challenger to Erdoğan, the queues illustrate what he says is not just an economic crisis but a failure of government, showing the need for political change.
His municipality sells bread at 1.25 lira (9 U.S. cents) or around half the price in regular bakeries, and has almost doubled bread output to some 1.5 million loaves a day to meet demand. But he said the queues indicated this was not enough.
"This shows very clearly the poverty. People don't get pleasure out of queuing to buy bread," he told Reuters in an interview at his offices in central Istanbul.