Turkey: Calculations reveal record inflation, Erdogan sacks statistician

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Jan 29, 2022, 06:57 PM(IST)

(File photo) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Turkey's chief statistician is latest in series of economic dismissals by Erdogan. He has sacked three central bank governors since July 2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sacked country's chief statistician after records and calculations revealed that tyhe country experienced record inflation rate last year. The inflation hit a 19-year high of 36.1 per cent.

The decree sacking head of state statistics agency was published on Saturday.

Sait Erdal Dincer was just the latest in a series of economic dismissals by Erdogan, who has sacked three central bank governors since July 2019.

Erdogan has railed against high interest rates, which he believes cause inflation -- the exact opposition of conventional economic thinking.

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The 2021 inflation figure released by Dincer angered both the pro-government and opposition camps.
The opposition said it was underreported, claiming that the real cost of living increases were at least twice as high.

Erdogan meanwhile reportedly criticised the statistics agency in private for publishing data that he felt overstated the scale of Turkey's economic malaise.

Dincer seemed to sense his impending fate.

"I sit in this office now, tomorrow it will be someone else," he said in an interview with the business newspaper Dunya earlier this month. 

"Never mind who is the chairman. Can you imagine that hundreds of my colleagues could stomach or remain quiet about publishing an inflation rate very different from what they had established?" 

"I have a responsibility to 84 million people," he added. 

Erdogan did not explain his decision to appoint Erhan Cetinkaya, who had served as vice-chair of Turkey's banking regulator, as the new state statistics chief.

"This will just increase concern about the reliability of the data, in addition to major concerns about economic policy settings," Timothy Ash of BlueBay Asset Management said in a note to clients. 

The agency is due to publish January's inflation data on February 3.

(With inputs from agencies)

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