The terraced rows of tea plants climbing the hills above the Black Sea used to glint like money. Lately, they look like another casualty of Turkey’s long, grinding economic crisis.
Lipton, the multinational giant, recently scrapped production at one of its three tea-processing factories in the area. It has slashed purchases of tea from local farmers, depressing commerce in surrounding towns and villages.
“Everything is connected,” laments the mayor of this town, Vasfi Kurdoglu. “The Lipton factory closure is the worst thing that has happened. It has hit everyone — food stores, bakers, truck drivers who carry tea from here to Istanbul. We are going through a very hard time.”