Turkish research group faces criminal charges over inflation data

Turkey’s statistics agency TUIK filed a criminal complaint against a group of local researchers publishing alternative inflation data, Bloomberg reported.

The government body demanded ENAGroup, an independent inflation research group, be fined for “purposefully defaming” the official statistics institution and “misguiding public opinion.”

TUIK argues in its complaint that ENAGrup  is obliged by law to clearly and explicitly share the
basic information about the method by which the data is produced with the public. It further cliams that thegroup have not shared any metadata information for a long time simultaneously with the work they started in September 2020. The existing metadata section announced on their website was far from meeting the standards and extremely inadequate. Therefore, users cannot access to information including classifications, scope and methods, TUIK said.

The group started publishing its own inflation data in September amid claims from opposition parties that the official agency is under-reporting price increases, Bloomberg said

ENAGroup’s inflation figures are higher than the official data. Its consumer price index rose 2.62 percent in April from a month earlier, more than double the 1.1 percent reported by the official agency. The group reported an annual inflation rate of 36.7 percent for 2020, Bloomberg reported.

Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Minister Lutfi Elvan said that the statistics agency filed a complaint against a group “for the first time in the history of the Turkish Republic.”

The group aims to “damage and discredit the Turkish Statistical Institute” by spreading misleading data that are used by opposition parties, Elvan said.

TUIK, Bloomberg, AN