Lawmakers from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) have presented to Parliament a proposal for a new bill calling for increased fines against food stockpiling, T24 news site reported on Monday.
The eight-article proposal calls for penalties ranging between 100,000 – 2 million liras (approximately $7,000 – $144,000) according to T24, and arrives as the country is faced with soaring inflation amid an economic downturn.
The bill refers to “practices by the producers, suppliers and retailers that lead to bottlenecks, disequilibrium in the market,’’ as well as “activities that alter free competition,’’ T24 said, calling for increased penalties that will serve as a greater deterrent to such moves.
Inflation in Turkey climbed to an annual 20.7 percent in November, with food prices rising 27.1 percent on average, according to official data, as the country grapples with a plunging currency.
The Turkish lira has lost around 40 percent of its value this year as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues to double down on his unorthodox economic policy of keeping borrowing costs low.
Erdoğan has openly targeted stockpilers, blaming them for the surge in prices and threatening to impose more severe punishments.
“Greedy” businesses that stockpile more goods than needed, are in part to blame for some sharp price spikes, T24 cited the Turkish leader as saying earlier this month.