An official in charge of measuring inflation data in Turkey’s national static service has resigned, in the latest in a series of departures at an institution that is under severe criticism for the reliability of its financial data, according to Bloomberg.
The Turkish Statistical Institute reported that Cem Bas resigned as head of the price statistics department, citing health reasons. Furkan Metin, who was previously head of the digital transformation department at TurkStat, has already replaced Bas, who will remain in the service, but in a lower-level role.
The changes in key positions are exacerbating the turmoil within TurkStat, whose president was replaced in January, less than a year after his appointment. Inflation figures are in the spotlight as prices rise at the fastest pace in 20 years in Turkey, a matter of particular concern for President Tayyip Erdogan’s government, a year before the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections. .
Researchers have expressed concern about the discrepancy between the data reported by TurkStat and the real increase in the cost of living experienced by employees. Although the agency reported 70% annual inflation in April, ENAGroup, an independent think tank that has developed its own price index, reported 157% inflation.
The government of Islamist President Erdogan, meanwhile, is drafting legislation banning independent researchers from publishing data without TurkStat approval, with the threat of jail time for anyone who does so.
Bas has been working for TurkStat for over 20 years.