Turkey's former statistics chief says inflation data not trustworthy

Birol Aydemir, the former head of Turkey's Statistical Institute (TÜİK), has said that the institution has lost its whole credibility with regards to data on inflation and that it would be even better if it stopped releasing the data altogether.

Duvar English

The former head of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK), Birol Aydemir, has said that he does not either believe in the inflation data announced by the institution.

“No one, including me, believes in the price data announced by TÜİK...In this situation, it is better for TÜİK to even say 'I am not involved in this,'” Aydemir told Radyo Sputnik, according to reporting by daily Birgün.

He said that the official inflation data is also important to determine the new minimum wage, which is currently being discussed by representatives of employees, employers and the government.

“TÜİK does not have any duty with regards to [determination of] minimum wage, [but when I was at the post] the discussions revolved around TÜİK. When I was the TÜİK head, I then told them, 'Do not ask us; do not invite us [discussions on minimum wage],” he said.

TÜİK's inflation figure has long been criticized as inaccurate. In October, when TÜİK 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.

TÜİK announces unemployment rate as 11.2 percent

Meanwhile, TÜİK announced on Dec. 10 that the country's unemployment rate fell to 11.2% in October from a revised 11.4% a month earlier, while a seasonally adjusted measure of labor underutilization rose to 22.8% from 21.8%.

The labor underutilization measure had risen at the start of the year to around a peak touched during the height of the initial COVID-19 lockdown in May of 2020, but has since fallen back.

The labor force participation rate rose 0.1 percentage point from a month earlier to 52.0% in October, data from the TÜİK also showed.

From January, the data was presented in a new format in line with international standards.