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Turkey: Inflation hits highest level since 1998

Official data showed inflation hitting an annual 73.5 percent in May as ordinary people continue to suffer
People burn their electricity bills as a protest against high energy prices in on February 9, 2022 (AFP)
People in Ankara burn their electricity bills as a protest against high energy prices, 9 February 2022 (AFP)

Inflation in Turkey has rocketed to its highest level since 1998 as ordinary Turks continue to suffer devastating rises in the price of basic goods.

Official data released on Friday showed that inflation rose to 73.5 percent in May. Transport prices jumped by 107.6 percent, while food was up by 91.6 percent.

Some economists, however, have suggested that the real inflation figure could be even higher.

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The independent Inflation Research Group on Friday said that inflation actually accelerated by a massive 160.8 percent - more than double the figure given by the government.

The ongoing economic crisis is likely to weigh heavily on the mind of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) ahead of the 2023 elections.

Sky-high inflation in the late 90s eventually brought down the coalition government of the time and helped sweep the AKP to power on a promise of tackling the issue.

Analysts now suggest the AKP is in a similar situation and could risk losing power for the first time since 2002 if there is no let-up in the financial hardship facing Turkish citizens.

The Turkish lira also took a beating following suggestions by Erdogan that a new military intervention in northern Syria could be imminent, leaving it at 16.49 to the dollar on Friday.

Over the past year, the currency has lost nearly 48 percent in value.

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