Turkey's statistical authority reports 6.7 percent growth in third quarter following months of suspicious data

The Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) reported a 6.7 percent growth in the economy in the third quarter of 2020, following months of scrutiny surrounding official data, resulting from TÜİK's conflicting reporting. The announcement of growth also closely follows the resignation of Finance Minister Berat Albayrak on Nov. 8.

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Turkey's Statistical Institute (TÜİK) reported 6.7 percent growth in the third quarter of 2020, following months of scrutiny around the validity of official financial data and the resignation of the finance minister.

Berat Albayrak, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son-in-law, stepped down from his post as finance minister on Nov. 8, interpreted by many as a move to remedy the economy, as the Turkish Lira had plummeted to record lows under his administration. 

Meanwhile, TÜİK data had been slammed by economists for months, as the authority has been releasing conflicting labor data that show contractions in both employment and unemployment, indicating a clear manipulation of the statistics.

TÜİK reported a 6.7 percent growth in the third quarter thanks to a 41.1 growth in finance and insurance activity, following a 9.9 shrink in the economy the following period.

Albayrak's successor Lütfi Elvan said that an increase in domestic demand was the driving force behind the growth.

"If Turkey grew by 6.7 percent, why was Finance Minister Berat Albayrak removed from his post? If Berat Albayrak was removed for failing, is it a lie that Turkey grew by 6.7 percent?" tweeted Turkish economist Emin Çapa following the TÜİK announcement.

Former Treasury Consultant Mahfi Eğilmez also noted the severity of Turkey's disbelief in official numbers, adding that the Health Ministry's mishandling of COVID-19 data contributed to the distrust.

"Up until three, four years ago, people didn't believe official inflation numbers. Then they started not believing the unemployment and growth rates. Protest starts as soon as the data is released," Eğilmez tweeted.

Meanwhile, Turkish economist Veysel Ulusoy noted the contradiction between growth in the third quarter and an increase in unemployment.

"We grew while unemployment increased! We're writing stories!" Ulusoy tweeted following the TÜİK data release.