West News Wire: Annual inflation in Turkey reached 73.5 percent in May, the highest rate since 1998, according to official figures released Friday as the country’s cost-of-living issue worsens.

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, the rate increased by about 70% from the previous month. According to the institute, consumer prices were up roughly 3% from April.

While consumer costs in many nations are growing, critics blame Turkey’s difficulties on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s economic policies.

The Turkish leader maintains that high borrowing costs generate inflation, which contradicts conventional economic wisdom, and wants for lower interest rates to encourage growth and exports.

Since September, Turkey’s central bank has dropped interest rates by 5 percentage points, to 14 percent, before stopping them in January. The Turkish lira lost 44% of its value against the U.S. dollar last year.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which led to a surge in gas, oil and grain prices, has compounded the situation in import-reliant Turkey.

The sharpest increases in annual prices were in the transportation sector, at 107.6%, followed by food and non-alcoholic drinks prices at 91.6%, according to the statistical institute’s data.

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