TÜİK Chief defends methodology for inflation calculation

The Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) head Erhan Çetinkaya has defended the prices to calculate the inflation rate after journalist Alaattin Aktaş revealed that they were using dramatically lower prices. “Looking at average aggregated prices, 2.57 liras per egg is a very reasonable price,” Çetinkaya said.


The Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) head Erhan Çetinkaya on July 8 claimed that they calculate the consumer price index (CIP) “in the same way as the rest of the world,” according to a reporting by state-run Anadolu Agency.

Çetinkaya held a press conference at the TÜİK building one day after journalist Alaatin Aktaş revealed that the institute had been using dramatically lower prices while calculating the inflation rate.

TÜİK stopped disclosing the prices of items used to calculate the CPI after April 2022, citing “public misinterpretation and misunderstandings” as the reason.

According to the journalist’s calculation based on the TÜİK, the fee for a medical examination in June was approximately 33 liras. This fee was 28 liras in April 2022, showing an increase of only 19 percent over the past two years. “TÜİK’s justification is this: ‘Not everyone in Turkey goes to private hospitals, there are some who go to public hospitals, that’s why the average is low’.”

Çetinkaya first defended not sharing the prices of items used to calculate the CPI.

“It is very difficult for these calculations to be released in time for the 3rd day of the month. Inflation is an aggregation of 600,000 prices, a weighted average. It is the average of the varieties of an item or service. For example, can a tomato in Van and a cherry tomato in Etiler, Istanbul have the same price? The weighted averages of their prices are used in the calculation of inflation. The basket of items is disclosed, no one is authorized to hide the basket of items, the unpublished ones are the item prices. In the past, the item prices announced did not have an indicative quality,” he said.

He said they needed to work one more day to announce item prices, and that is why they stopped disclosing it. He added that neither European Union (EU) member and candidate countries, EFTA countries, US and Canadian statistical offices share those prices.

“For example, a news report stated that an egg price was 2.57 liras. Free-range chicken eggs are 5 liras. But (the conventional) 30 eggs are two liras each. Looking at the consumption weights, it is seen that citizens mostly consume (the conventional) eggs. Looking at the average aggregated prices, 2.57 liras is a very reasonable price for eggs,” he added.

Çetinkaya also criticized the Inflation Research Group (ENAG), an independent group of academics and economists that calculate inflation as an alternative to TÜİK.

“For rent prices monitored by TÜİK, as with all other goods and services prices, the monthly rental values of over 5,000 houses selected with a fixed definition and quality are monitored. ENAG, on the other hand, obtains rent prices directly from real estate websites and calculates the rent increase on the assumption that all tenants change their homes each month. ENAG calculates as if all tenants move to a new house every month, and calculates an inflated increase by falsely adding the increases it observes on the internet every month,” he argued.

Moreover, he criticized companies for “exorbitant price increases independent of inflation.”

TÜİK reported annual inflation at 71.6 percent in June, whereas ENAG put the figure at 113.08 percent.