Turkey’s elections: Struggle for economic stability, grain security

The country imposed large tariff on grain imports as election approaches
Turkey election
Turkey’s battle for economic stability

Turkey’s economy has been hit hard by one of its worst cost-of-living crises in recent history, with inflation reaching a 24-year high of 85.5% last year before easing to nearly 50% in March. The fall is largely due to the favorable base effect from the previous period.

The situation has been exacerbated by the country’s upcoming presidential election, which is being closely contested by incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his main opposition rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

According to a new poll conducted between April 18 and April 24, 2023, and involving 972 respondents across Turkey, support for Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu is at a statistical tie, with 45.2% and 44.9% respectively.

Read more: What is the fate of the Ukrainian-Russian grain agreement?

The survey also found that 69.6% of respondents believe that the economy and inflation are the most immediate challenges facing the country.

Economists have pointed to the Turkish Central Bank‘s unorthodox rate cuts as one of the main drivers of inflation. Erdogan, who holds the unconventional view that high-interest rates cause high inflation, has pledged that they will not be increased as long as he is in power.

Meanwhile, a 130% tariff on certain grain imports, including wheat and corn, was announced by Turkey on April 25, possibly in response to concerns over the country’s agricultural sector and its grain deal with Russia and Ukraine.

Grain is a significant issue in Turkey’s upcoming elections on May 14. Last year, Turkey brokered a deal with Ukraine and Russia to ensure the safe transit of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea during the ongoing war. 

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