Nedim İpek

Keywords: Bafra, Prices, Wages, Turkish History, 1914-1930, Municipal Assembly Decision Books, Samsun

Abstract

The principal reasons for the uneven distribution of food supplies on a country-wide basis during World War One can be identified as the recruitment of producers to bear arms; the priority awarded to a large proportion of the existing supplies to the armed forces; the inadequacy of the communications network; and the primitiveness of the transport vehicles. The strain of the demand on the already scarce provisions reached the breaking point upon incursions by Greek brigands and an influx of refugees from the east who poured into Samsun and environs as a result of food shortages in the military-administrative district of Canik. While little hardship was experienced within the town of Bafra because of the availability of fruit and vegetables produced regionally, the local residents encountered difficulties in securing the supply of such items as kerosene and flour, which had to be brought in from outside the district. This resulted in a steep increase in the prices of these products. During the war, oil prices and rent levels in Bafra rose 100%. The price of bread increased from 63 para to 45 kurush (one kurush=40 para). On the conclusion of the war when the refugees in the town returned to their homes and opportunities increased for the acquisition of non-local products, prices exhibited a perceptible decrease. The succeeding years exhibited a fluctation in the price of bread according to the grain yields: the cost of a kilogram of bread hovered around 16 kurush in the 1930s. During the First World War, the buying power of the currency was reduced by 85% as a result of the breakdown in economic stability. The cost of living affected the residents of the town of Bafra in differing degrees. For instance, the buying power of the salary of a civil servant decreased 60-80%, while the daily wage of the laborers and tradesmen fell by roughly 50%.