The Istanbul baker, bread and “idiots”
LETTER FROM ISTANBUL
Cihan Kolivar is a bon vivant, that’s obvious. A baker by trade, a craftsman from an early age, this father of a family, in his sixties, has never kept his tongue in his apron. Affable and jovial, a formidable swordsman and often very funny, he speaks with the most contagious flavor and passion. The expert, fifty-two years of profession on the clock, also knows how to be a teacher. Elected president of the bread producers’ union, he regularly appears on the television sets of local Istanbul and even national channels.
He talks about taste and flour, the daily food of today’s Turks, soaring prices and this endless inflation. Again last month, it reached 85.5%, its highest level in twenty-five years. In detail, this gives a 99% surge in food prices, forcing many households to eat almost exclusively bread. Sold for 1.25 Turkish lira at the start of 2021 (0.06 euro at the current rate), the traditional loaf has now cost 5 pounds (0.27 euro) since September. And she could jump to 7.50 pounds very soon. Enough to despair the most temperate craftsman.
One day, in front of a camera, Cihan Kolivar claimed that it was better to eat two pieces of bread rather than three. With the money thus saved, he explained, “we can buy a book that will teach us how to earn our bread, because it is not by eating it that we learn it”. A very beautiful and noble word from a baker.
Another time, still in public, he recalls having sold his bread in Kasimpasa, a popular and central district along the Golden Horn, in Istanbul, birthplace and childhood also of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “Perhaps the future head of state also came to buy his bread from me, perhaps he paid on credit like the others, leaving a slate that he would pay later. » And then this, in an almost playful tone: “Today, I’m still a baker and I still have difficulty buying my ingredients and making ends meet…”
“Since our society fills its stomach with bread, we have the same leaders at its head. » Cihan Kolivar, baker
“210 kg of bread per year”
On November 7, Cihan Kolivar appeared on Afsin Yurdakul’s talk show on the pro-government channel Habertürk. He is one of the guests to answer the question of the day entitled “How much will bread cost us?” He launches out, visibly quite upset:
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