The Turkish president’s party could lose control of several cities as high inflation hits his core voters in the pocket

“Where are the onions? I can’t cook green beans without onions,” a middle-aged woman tells the vendor at one of Turkey’s new “people’s vegetables stalls” in Istanbul. “Where’s the aubergine and peppers? If you don’t have those, then what’s the point?”

Several dozen people queued at the white tent in the middle of Taksim Square one morning last week, one of 150 set up in Istanbul and Ankara by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to combat what he calls “food terrorism” – a steep rise in the cost of basic goods that is souring public opinion against the government before crucial local elections on Sunday.

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