ISTANBUL—The two-decade economic boom that lifted millions of Turks into the middle class is beginning to unravel, threatened by a currency crisis that has people lining up for subsidized bread, cutting back on meat and fleeing for a better life in Europe.

The Turkish lira has lost as much as 45% of its value this year, making ordinary Turks poorer. The pandemic-era consumer-price increases that have plagued economies across the world are supersize in Turkey, where inflation stands at more than 21%. People here are rushing to trade their shrinking wages for dollars and gold, are eating out less and are having more trouble finding imported goods, including medicine.



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