Galip Aykaç, the chief operating officer of discounter BIM Birlesik Magazalar AS, has stepped down from his role as chairman of Türkiye's Food Retailers Association, following recent comments about high inflation rates in the country.
According to reports, at a conference in Istanbul last week, Aykaç hit back at recent comments by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan that grocers were increasing the price of goods despite costs generally remaining stable – which the president alleged is fuelling rampant inflation in the market.
Not Behind Price Increases
“We are not the source of price increases we see on the labels,” Aykaç was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. “Just as exchange offices are not the reason for the increase in exchange rates, and gas stations aren’t the reason for fuel-price increases.”
He added that retailer profit margins in Türkiye stand at between 0% and 4%, with many retailers making losses. He also suggested that more needed to be done to reduce reliance on sourcing from international markets.
In November, food price inflation in Türkiye hit 102%, according to recent reports.
Following his comments, Aykaç was reportedly targeted on social media by a prominent member of the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party, as well as a nationalist gang leader.
As of the end of last year, BIM Birlesik Magazalar operated 10,489 stores in Türkiye, as well as Morocco and Egypt. It opened 1,081 stores in Türkiye last year.