- A record 39% of Turks are considered ‘suffering’
- A record high of 37% approved the national government in December
WASHINGTON, DC — Inflation in Turkey hit a two-decade high of nearly 70% in April, as prices for food and other basic necessities rose further. This puts additional pressure on Turkish adults, who were already feeling economic hardship. Gallup surveys in December 2021 found nearly four in 10 Turks rated their lives poorly enough to be considered “suffering”, the highest percentage in more than 15 years.
Gallup classifies individuals as “Thriving”, “Struggling” or “Afflicted”, depending on how they rate their current and future life on a scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10, based on the Effort Scale of Cantril self-anchoring. Those who rate their current life and expected life in five years as 4 or less are classified as suffering.
Inflation weighed on Turkish incomes even before recent challenges
In December last year, a majority of Turkish adults (56%) said it was difficult or very difficult to cope with their household income, 17 percentage points higher than in December 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and higher than at any time since 2013.
Recent economic challenges have only further exacerbated this pain. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – Turkey’s Black Sea neighbor and key to the country’s food supply – has sent commodity prices skyrocketing and introduced further instability to world markets. energy and food. In the face of this rising price, the Turkish government continued to pursue a strategy of keeping interest rates low, rather than raising them, as would be typical in an effort to fight inflation.
Living standards drop as cost of food becomes prohibitive for many
From autumn 2021 to the end of the year, around six in 10 Turks said there had been times over the past year when they did not have enough money for food. This is the highest level in Gallup’s trend and well above the 35% who said they had run out of money for food in the previous 12 months in December 2020.
Just as record levels of adults in Turkey report struggling to eat, satisfaction with living standards also fell to historic lows at the end of last year. Satisfaction with living standards has fallen by around half since 2017, when it stood at 68%, before dropping to 34% in October 2021.
Turkey’s poor economy is eroding trust in government
Amid the economic fallout, trust in Turkey’s national government hit a low of 37% in December 2021, the lowest mark since Gallup began polling the country in 2005 and a slight ebb from the Party’s mandate. Justice and Development (AKP) in power. Turks’ level of trust in their government in December marked an 18-point drop from 2020, when Turkey avoided some of the worst economic fallout from the global pandemic.
In power since 2002, the AKP has earned the trust of 49% or more of Turks from 2007 to 2020. This level of trust was based at least in part on strong economic growth, driven by liberal economic policies and technocratic expertise. From 2005 to 2020, Turkish GDP growth has tended to significantly outpace global growth.
The government’s ineffective response to the slowing economy in recent years has shaken the confidence of investors and the Turkish public to record levels not seen since the banking crisis that brought the AKP to power.
Turkey’s June 2023 five-year parliamentary and presidential elections are just over a year away, but the country’s struggling economy is already taking center stage, providing a new window of opportunity for the country’s opposition parties and affecting government policies well beyond Turkey’s central bank.
President Tayyip Erdogan’s attempted rapprochement with the Gulf monarchies and Israel, and even normalization talks with Armenia, can all be seen from the perspective of Turkey’s current economic weakness and the need to acquire foreign investments and trade agreements. Meanwhile, falling living standards have heightened tensions over immigration in the world’s biggest refugee-hosting country, as the government and its main opposition have vowed – unrealistically – to relocate millions Syrians in northwestern Syria, where Turkish-backed militias hold power.
To some extent, the economic challenges facing Turkey are shaped by global trends beyond its control. Soaring inflation has proven a thorny issue for policymakers in many countries in the era of pandemic recovery, while disruptions from the Ukraine-Russia conflict have rippled through commodity markets well into the world. beyond Turkey. Yet Ankara’s monetary policies have been seen as only further fanning the flames of inflation in a crisis it has largely caused. Turks now rate their life and standard of living worse than at any time in 16 years of polls, but the consequences of this crisis could end up beyond the wallets of Turks.
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For full methodology and specific survey dates, please see Gallup’s national dataset details.
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Post expires at 4:21pm on Thursday June 23rd, 2022