by Leo Kendrick
Following a November in which the Turkish Lira reached record lows against the dollar, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜIK) released numbers Friday quoting Turkey’s annual inflation at 20.21%, while November’s inflation rate was quoted at 3.51%. The release of these numbers come as opposition politicians, economists, and academics argue that the true numbers are indeed much higher.
Following the release of these statistics Friday morning, Republican People’s Party Chairman and main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu attempted to enter the headquarters of the TÜIK in Ankara, where he was denied access. Following his refusal at the entrance, Kılıçdaroğlu made an announcement saying he had requested a meeting at the ministry and been denied, while voicing his skepticism of the numbers that had been announced: “This scene is important for showing the point Turkey has come to. The ruling party does not want details of how this information was gathered to be announced and they are closing their doors. This is a scene we have not seen in the history of our republic.”
At the press conference organized outside the entrance to the statistical institute, Kılıçdaroğlu claimed that the inflation numbers released by the government earlier in the morning had been too low, advising citizens not to trust them. Citing recent struggles such as rising food costs, natural gas price hikes, and increasing electricity costs, the CHP chairman referenced recent estimates by experts painting a much grimer picture of Turkey’s inflation struggle: “A group of academics and social scientists have also made estimates. They have said that monthly inflation stands at 9.31%, and yearly at 58.63%.”
Explaining his reason for coming to the statistical institute Friday morning, Kılıçdaroğlu said he had come to question authorities as to where they had gotten the data for the allegedly falsified inflation numbers: “We were going to ask ‘Where did you get these figures?'” In his comments, Kılıçdaroğlu argued that employees of institutions such as TÜIK had allegedly become “palace employees, not government officials,” referring to the extent to which nominally independent government institutions have come under the thumb of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling party in recent years.