What's the Latest Development?
Amid reports that private equity firms from the US and the Middle East are seeking a 50 percent stake in one of Turkey's top baked-goods producers, prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan exhorted citizens to replace white bread with "pure, genuine wheat bread, and in addition, let’s bring to the table bread with a high ratio of bran in it." Bread is a popular staple in Turkish cuisine; over 37 billion loaves are baked annually. The targeted company, Simit Sarayi, produces a type of bagel that wasn't included in the prime minister's recommendation for change.
What's the Big Idea?
It's not the first time Erdogan has attempted to influence Turkish citizens' personal habits. Since 2008 he has championed the country's smoking ban, and last year the government passed legislation limiting Caesarean-section births in response to his opposition to the procedure. With regards to bread, his motives are monetary as well as dietary: Two billion loaves of bread go to waste each year, he said, and the money spent on producing them could go towards paying worker salaries or building schools. Such savings will help Turkey meet its goal of becoming one of the world's top-10 economies in the next 10 years.
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