Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed the government over a decision to set a customs duty-free import quota for tons of potatoes, warning that local farmers will be hit hard by it.
“They import 200,000 tons of potatoes, as though there is no place to plant them and no [farmer] to grow them,” Kılıçdaroğlu said at an election campaign meeting in Istanbul’s Eyüpsultan district on March 11.
He was referring to the recent decision of the government permitting a duty-free import quota for 200,000 tons of potatoes until April 20.
“Turkey did not have a survival concern 17 years ago. Why is there one now?” he said, referring to the time period the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been in power and a frequently voiced concern of the government over Turkey’s “perpetuity.”
“If a country is not producing, there is the survival problem. Everything is imported, from lentils to livestock,” he stated.
Farmers cannot cultivate agricultural products because they will lose money, he said. “They are already suffering.”
He called on AKP voters to “make the right decision.” “This government has condemned citizens to wait in lines of queues just to buy onions for lower prices,” he said, referring to recent price hikes in vegetables.
He also addressed nationalist voters and said the CHP does not discriminate anyone based on their identities or beliefs. “Which country in the world is selling their national weapons factory to a foreign country?” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu also warned CHP members to avoid falling for provocations ahead of the March 31 local elections.