Turkish Trade Ministry seeks defense from 114 companies over price hikes

The Turkish Trade Ministry said on Monday it had asked 114 companies for their defense of what it described as excessive price hikes as part of a probe into thousands of companies after inflation hit a 15-year high, Reuters reported.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would impose fines on “opportunists” who raised prices after a slide in the value of the lira. He has also called on Turks to report stores that imposed unusual price hikes.

The ministry said in a statement it had inspected 3,974 companies and 69,200 products nationwide. The investigation does not aim to intervene in the free market system but to prevent injustices due to unfair price hikes, the ministry added.

Turkey has been suffering from a currency crisis as the lira has lost almost 50 percent of its value against the US dollar this year. After a recent interest rate hike by the central bank to offset the lira’s losses, Turkey became second in the world in terms of offering high-interest rates.

Thousands of companies have applied to the courts to restructure their debts.

Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak tweeted that Turkey would announce a “full-fledged fight against inflation” program on Tuesday.

According to Uğur Gürses, a prominent economy journalist who was working for the Hürriyet daily before it was bought by a pro-government businessman, Finance Ministry officials have been calling on businesspeople to reduce their prices as part of the “fight against inflation.” “Inflation doesn’t decrease with political pressure,” Gürses tweeted. (turkishminute.com)

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