Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) chair Sait Erdal Dinçer has defended his decision to not give an appointment to main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, saying that his aim was to prevent the institution from becoming a part of political debates.
Speaking to news website Habertürk on Dec. 27, Dinçer said that the institution should distance itself from politics and produce Turkey's most critical data.
Although Dinçer explained his controversial stance with protecting the institution, the TÜİK has long been under fire for its politically motivated data. Critics say that the institution has become a tool under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to hide the true aspect of the country's economic downfall.
Kılıçdaroğlu's visit on Dec. 3 came amid said criticism, but the institution denied the main opposition leader's entry to the premises. The CHP head then said that he visited the TÜİK to defend the rights of workers in the face of false data.
"The TÜİK has stopped being an institution of the state and turned into one that belongs to the presidential palace," Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters, adding that inflation data released by the institution can't be trusted.
Dinçer, however, said that he has never been involved in politics and his aim is not to close to the institution to visitors.
"I tried to protect the institution in order for it to not become a part of political debates," he claimed.
He also denied receiving orders from the AKP to release inflation data less than it actually is.