Turkish Inflation Blame Game Sees Supermarkets Fined Over Prices
Turkey’s antitrust watchdog fined the country’s top five supermarket chains for price fixing, weeks after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan singled them out for helping to drive runaway inflation.
The Competition Authority fined the companies a total of 2.65 billion liras ($276 million) for coordinating when to fix and change prices, and exchanging sensitive information on special offers, according to a statement on its website.
BIM Birlesik Magazalar AS was the hardest hit with a 958 million-lira penalty, followed by Yeni Magazacilik AS, known as A101 (647 million liras), Migros Ticaret AS (518 million liras), Sok Marketler Ticaret AS (384 million liras) and CarrefourSA (142 million liras).
Migros said in a statement it didn’t accept the decision and would dispute it.
President Erdogan said last month the companies “disrupt entire markets” and promised to open 1,000 subsidized stores to “balance” the market. Head of the Food Retailers Association Galip Aykac has cited high production costs for price hikes, saying supermarkets are being “scapegoated” over inflation.
Tackling rising food prices has become a priority for the Turkish president, whose popularity is falling in polls. Inflation accelerated to 19.6% in September, led by 28.8% annual rise in food prices.
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