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An official in charge of compiling Turkish inflation statistics has stepped down, the latest prominent departure at an institution that’s facing harsh criticism over the reliability of its economic data.
The Turkish Statistical Institute said Cem Bas resigned as head of the department of price statistics for health reasons. Furkan Metin, who previously oversaw the digital transformation and projects department at the agency known as TurkStat, has replaced Bas, who’ll remain on staff in a lower-profile role.
The personnel change adds to a period of tumult at TurkStat, whose president was replaced in January less than a year after his appointment. Inflation data are in the spotlight at a time when consumer prices are growing at the fastest in two decades, a key concern for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government just over a year before elections.
Concerns have recently swirled among researchers over what they call a divergence between the agency’s price statistics and the surge in the cost of living felt by wage earners. While TurkStat reported an annual inflation of 70% in April, ENAGroup, an independent group of scholars who’ve put together an alternative consumer price index, put the figure at as high as 157%.
The government is meanwhile seeking to pass legislation that would bar independent researchers from publishing their own data without seeking approval from TurkStat and potentially face a jail term if they violate the law.
Read more: Turkey Mulls Jail Terms for Publishing Unapproved Economic Data
A graduate of Middle East Technical University in the Turkish capital with a doctorate from Ankara University, Bas spent more than two decades working at TurkStat, according to his LinkedIn profile.
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