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Feature: Turkish popular snack simit suffers from inflation – Xinhua

Source: Xinhua
Editor: huaxia
2022-08-20 23:18:45

A street vendor carries simits in Ankara, Türkiye, Aug. 20, 2022. The simit, a bagel-like bread covered with toasted sesame seeds, is a popular snack and a traditional breakfast staple for Turks, but the galloping inflation has made it something of a luxury for the poor. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)
by Burak Akinci
ANKARA, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) — The simit, a bagel-like bread covered with toasted sesame seeds, is a popular snack and a traditional breakfast staple for Turks, but the galloping inflation has made it something of a luxury for the poor.
The price of a simit has increased from 3 to 5 liras (0.16 to 0.27 U.S. dollars) following a price hike in sesame seeds and flour, two vital ingredients in the most preferred street food for Turks, said a simit baker from a residential neighbourhood of Ankara with the first name of Ihsan.
Mustafa Turan, a 19-year-old freshman majoring in computer engineering, was upset with the price increase.
“The price hike especially has an impact on us students,” he told Xinhua as he was strolling in the streets of the Kizilay neighborhood in Ankara where many cafes offer simits on their menus.
“As students, we rely on the pocket money given by our families. We can hardly afford to go to a restaurant and order a steak, simit is always our choice,” he said.
Burcin, a traditional dance instructor who didn’t give full name, said that many families are now buying this staple food for weekends only.
The hike is highly symbolic of the rise in the country’s living costs where annual inflation shot to almost 80 percent with an economic policy based on low-interest rates and geopolitical factors, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
In 2021, the Turkish lira lost 44 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar and over 30 percent this year.
The weakening of the lira bears directly on consumer prices. The more the currency slumps, the more the runaway inflation threatens to rise.
Bread — an indispensable staple for low-income families in Türkiye — has seen back-to-back price hikes amid rising flour and energy costs. The price for bread rose 7 percent in July alone and some 97 percent over a year.
In response to the tumbling value of its currency, the Turkish government has slashed taxes on some goods, handed out subsidies, and boosted the minimum wage to 5,500 liras (about 302.50 dollars).
But minimum-wage workers haven’t found much reprieve.
For the past few years, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to tighten policy to cool inflation, describing interest rates as the “mother of all evil.”
The Turkish leader has called for “patience” and predicted that Türkiye will be relieved of the burden caused by inflation by February or March next year.

A street vendor sells simits to a customer in Ankara, Türkiye, Aug. 20, 2022. The simit, a bagel-like bread covered with toasted sesame seeds, is a popular snack and a traditional breakfast staple for Turks, but the galloping inflation has made it something of a luxury for the poor.(Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)

A bakery worker makes simits in Ankara, Türkiye, Aug. 20, 2022. The simit, a bagel-like bread covered with toasted sesame seeds, is a popular snack and a traditional breakfast staple for Turks, but the galloping inflation has made it something of a luxury for the poor. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)

Simits are displayed at a bakery in Ankara, Türkiye, Aug. 20, 2022. The simit, a bagel-like bread covered with toasted sesame seeds, is a popular snack and a traditional breakfast staple for Turks, but the galloping inflation has made it something of a luxury for the poor. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)

A bakery worker presents simits in Ankara, Türkiye, Aug. 20, 2022. The simit, a bagel-like bread covered with toasted sesame seeds, is a popular snack and a traditional breakfast staple for Turks, but the galloping inflation has made it something of a luxury for the poor. (Photo by Mustafa Kaya/Xinhua)

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