Turkey increasing jail time for food stockpiling
10 May, 2022
The Turkish government is preparing to increase jail sentences over charges of food stockpiling to up to three years, the justice minister announced on Tuesday, as the country faces soaring inflation amid an economic downturn.
Ankara is preparing to reset a lower and upper limit to jailtime on the crime, Cumhuriyet newspaper cited Bekir Bozdağ as saying.
“We are changing the penalty of food stockpiling and price gouging to between one and three years in prison,” Bozdağ said. “We are increasing both the lower and upper limit.’’
The new regulation arrives as Turkey’s consumer price inflation accelerated to a record-breaking annual 69.97 percent in April, extending a two-decade high, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute. The figure is up from 61.14 percent in March.
According to the Inflation Research Group (ENAG), an independent organisation established by economists and academics, the real inflation rate in April in the country measures at 156.86 percent.
The country’s skyrocketing prices are chipping away at earnings, making it difficult for consumers to purchase even basic necessities.
The Turkish government has openly targeted stockpilers, blaming them for the surge in prices and threatening to impose more severe punishments.
Lawmakers from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) in December presented to Parliament a proposal for a new bill calling for increased fines against food stockpiling.
Erdoğan has gone on record to say “greedy” businesses that stockpile more goods than needed, are in part to blame for some sharp price spikes, T24 news site reported.
The penalty for food stockpiling in the country is currently set at three months to two years in prison and a judicial fine, Cumhuriyet said.