Turkish official in charge of inflation calculations resigns from post

A Turkish official in charge of calculating inflation has resigned from his post citing ill health, the Sözcü newspaper reported on Friday.

Cem Baş headed the inflation department of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK). He will work as an expert in the same department after his resignation, Sözcü said.

The real reason that Baş stepped down was that he was seriously disturbed by the pressure exerted upon him while performing his job as department chief, Sözcü reported, without saying where it got the information.

Consumer price inflation in Turkey has surged to an annual 70 percent, a two-decade high, after the central bank cut interest rates late last year even as price increases gathered pace. Producer price inflation jumped to 121.8 percent, the highest level since the 1990s.  

Furkan Metin, who has served as head of a department responsible for digital transformation, replaced Baş, the newspaper said.

Turkey’s government has replaced five heads of TÜİK since 2016 and scores of senior officials of the organisation, many by presidential decree. The dismissals have raised concern among some analysts and foreign investors about the institution’s independence from politics and the reliability of data.

ENAGGroup, an independent collective of academics who started calculating inflation in Turkey, reported that consumer prices rose by an annual 156.9 percent in April. TÜİK has sought court injunctions to prevent ENAG from reporting the figures saying it undermines confidence in official data.

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