A UN report has found, just as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his administration escalates war rhetoric against Greece, that malnutrition and hunger has exploded in Turkey.
The UN World Food Programme’s live Hunger Map found that a total of 14.8 million of Turkey’s 82.3 million population suffers from insufficient food adjustment.
Turkey has seen an increase of 410,000 suffering from malnutrition in the country in the past three months and 50,000 over the past month, the map, which chares real time data, showed.
Some 1.7 percent of children under the age of 5 in the country are faced with acute malnutrition and 6 percent of children experience chronic malnutrition, according to the map.
The data arrives as Turkey’s inflation for the month of May rose by 73.5 percent year on year, its highest in 23 years. The country is grappling with soaring food and energy costs and Erdoğan’s unorthodox monetary policy.
Food prices in Turkey rose by 91.6 percent year on year, according to data by the Turkish International Statistical Institute (TÜİK).
According to the Inflation Research Group (ENAG), an independent organisation established by economists and academics, the real inflation rate in April in the country measures at 156.86 percent, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.
Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern Şırnak province registered the highest rate of malnutrition in the country, measuring at 20.25 percent, according to the U.N. map.
Meanwhile, the Erdoğan administration has escalated its war rhetoric with Greece and continues to claim that the Greek islands should not be militarised whilst at the same time threatening to invade them.
Greece has said it will not be drawn into an escalation with Turkey, however adding that the country remains committed to defending its national interests.
Speaking at a press briefing on June 1, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexandros Papaioannou said that the recent barrage of Turkish provocations is a response to Greece’s official letter to the United Nations which thoroughly deconstructs Turkey’s claims.
“Our foreign policy is based on specific values, principles, respect for international law and the Law of the Sea,” Papaioannou said. “These values and these principles will continue to be our guide,” he said, adding that Greece will never go ad hominem on Turkey.
“We respond [to any provocations] with prudence and moderation [and] on the basis of international law, and at the same time we inform our partners and allies about developments,” he said.
Greece sent a total of two letters to the United Nations Secretary General rejecting the entirety of Turkey’s arguments about the status of the Greek islands in the Aegean, Greek diplomatic sources said on June 7.
In the two letters to the UN Secretary General, Greece’s permanent representative to the UN refutes Turkey’s arguments “as legally unsustainable, having clearly revisionist motives, and further fueling the instability Turkey creates with its actions,” the sources said.
Athens was responding to earlier statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who was quoted by the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency as saying that “the sovereignty of the Aegean islands will come into question if Greece does not stop violating international treaties.”
Çavuşoğlu reiterated threats on Tuesday that Ankara is prepared to dispute Greek sovereignty of its eastern Aegean islands if it does not withdraw its military presence, saying that Ankara has sent two letters to the United Nations to that effect.
“As soon as they could not answer our questions legally, they became much more aggressive,” he said, accusing Greece of making “groundless accusations” that Ankara is pursuing an expansionist policy.
“Since they cannot answer our questions about the status of the islands they are opting for demagogic rhetoric,” Cavusoglu said.
“If Greece cannot answer to those letters we wrote to the United Nations stating that they are not arming those islands… then the sovereignty of those islands will be discussed,” he said.