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Inflation Hits 86%, But Erdogan’s Vital Heartland Stays Loyal

A trip to the key conservative province of Gaziantep shows the scale of the challenge to oust Turkey’s leader despite an economic crisis. 

Supporters during a rally as Erdogan visits Gaziantep, Turkey on Nov. 5.

Supporters during a rally as Erdogan visits Gaziantep, Turkey on Nov. 5.

Source: Turkish Presidency

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Turkey is contending with the worst cost-of-living crisis for decades. Food prices are up 99% and energy bills just rose another 20%. That’s in a country where half the population has to survive on the minimum wage.

For Mustafa Coban, it’s not just trying to make ends meet that’s embittered him. The pistachio seller in Turkey’s southern Gaziantep province is also angry at the government for allowing Syrians from across the border to settle when housing is getting more expensive.