Turkish Cypriots pounded by inflation

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Turkish Cypriots are seeing their purchasing power disappear, as prices of essential goods have skyrocketed within the past year, with inflation in the north recording a year-on-year 120% increase in October.

According to the Turkish Cypriot statistical services, annual inflation in October jumped by 120.72% and 81.64% from the beginning of the year.

Turkish Cypriot media suggests the community may be in the tightest financial squeeze ever.

YeniDuzen daily reported that 70% of people shopping at local grocery stores are requesting shopkeepers open tabs in their name as they cannot pay on the spot.

Mirac Turan, a grocery store owner in north Nicosia, said the vast majority of his customers are paying for their shopping in instalments “just like paying off a car loan”.

Turan said his store’s sales had dropped dramatically, noting that he felt sorry for customers asking to purchase food on a tab.

“There are families with three children trying to get by on just one minimum wage.

“We know these people have shortened their shopping list by at least a third, which means their children have less food on their plates.

“These children have no future…” said Tunar.

Kibris daily said there is growing discontent amongst Turkish Cypriots, who took to social media to blast the Dieticians’ Association for recommending that people eat fish daily.

“Turkish Cypriots can’t afford to step foot in a fishmonger’s,” was Kibris’ frontpage headline on Friday.

It said fresh fish in the north costs anything from €17 a kilo.

“Citizens are having a hard time making it through the day.

“They can’t afford to buy milk and eggs for their children to eat in the morning.”

Poverty gap

It is estimated that a breakfast for a family of four, consisting of two eggs each and a slice of white cheese, would cost close to 200 TL, which is more than €10.

Another Turkish Cypriot newspaper, Havadis, said there is a growing wealth gap in the north, claiming that while people are having difficulties, five-star hotels advertise luxury gala nights for New Year’s Eve.

Havadis reported that securing a seat at one of these events can cost anything from €360 to €627.

A recent survey by The Centre for Migration, Identity and Rights Studies (CMIRS) indicated a disturbing 35% of Turkish Cypriots said they would move to another country if they had the chance.

In the CMIRS survey, which also measures political, social, and individual confidence and sense of happiness among Turkish Cypriots, a whopping 94% said they felt things were not going well.

Only 20% of Turkish Cypriots expressed their confidence in the future.

According to survey findings, Turkish Cypriots think the biggest problem is the economy and inflation.

Everything in the north, from electricity bills, fuel costs and groceries, has more than doubled in the past year, putting immense pressure on low-income Turkish Cypriots.

Another survey by the civil servants union KTAMS defined the hunger line at 9675 TL (€535), while the minimum wage is 8,600 TL (€476).

The hunger line is defined by the minimum a four-member family needs to put food on the table.