Crowds queued outside municipality tents to buy tomatoes, onions and peppers in the Bayrampasa district, waiting for an hour for items selling at half the regular shop prices. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
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Turkey opens government vegetable stallsBattling a sharp rise in food costs, Turkish authorities opened their own markets Monday to sell cheap vegetables directly to shoppers, cutting out retailers who the government has accused of jacking up prices. Traders blamed storms in southern Turkey's farming region for food price inflation, as well as rising costs of labor and transport. Authorities called it "food terror" and said they would punish anyone trying to keep prices artificially high.Under the government initiative, municipalities are selling vegetables at around 50 percent of prices recorded by the Turkish Statistical Institute in January.Last week, authorities inspected fresh produce wholesalers and imposed fines totaling 2 million lira ($380,000) on 88 firms for setting unreasonably high prices, according to the Trade Ministry.
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