Opposition Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu reveals 'real' inflation in megacity

In the face of claims by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) that inflation hovers around 21.31%, opposition Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has released data that shows the real cost of living in Istanbul has increased by 50.18% in the last year, according to his planning committee.

Duvar English

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), has released data compiled by his planning committee that shows that the cost of living in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, has increased by an average of 50.18% in the last year. This directly refutes claims by the state-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) that inflation stands at 21.31%.

TurkStat’s inflation figure has long been criticized as inaccurate. In October, when TurkStat claimed inflation increased by 20% year-over-year, the independent Inflation Research Group placed it at 50% - closer to the official percentage change in the Producer Price Index (DPPI). Housing and food prices have skyrocketed even more - according to Central Bank data, housing prices have increased by an average of 32.6% year-over-year as of October, but many estimates place that number far higher.

İmamoğlu’s team, the Istanbul Planning Agency (İPA), puts the increase in rent prices at 71.6% in the last year. Food prices have climbed by even more: sunflower oil has increased in price by 137.59%, flour has increased by 109.14%, granulated sugar has increased by 90.71%, and eggs have increased by 40%. Everyday necessities have also become more expensive: the price of liquefied petroleum gas has increased by 102.72%, while toilet paper has increased in price by 90.75%.

These numbers back the claim by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu that TurkStat is hiding real inflation numbers. Last week, Kılıçdaroğlu tried to enter the Institute’s building to discuss inflation data but was denied entry. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, a staunch ally of President Recep Erdoğan, called the visit a “raid.” 

The İPA compiled the average prices of 321 different everyday goods from 3,000 different locations in the city. They chose these goods based on interviews with 1,600 households about the rise in the cost of living in 2020. In his social media post, Mayor İmamoğlu referred to the numbers as reflective of “real inflation.”