Turkish Statistical Institute denies entry to main opposition CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu

Turkey’s state-run statistics office (TÜİK) has not allowed main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to enter the premises.

The Institute said Kılıçdaroğlu does not have an appointment.

Kılıçdaroğlu had previously announced on Twitter that he had asked for an appointment from TÜİK and that his request had been denied. “I’ve asked for an appointment from TÜİK, but they didn’t give it. I am coming [to TÜİK premises] at 11 a.m. For your information,” Kılıçdaroğlu had written.

The security guards of TÜİK reportedly locked the institution’s door and told Kılıçdaroğlu that no one without an appointment would be let in.

At the entrance of the institution, Kılıçdaroğlu held a press meeting saying that no one no longer trusts the data announced by TÜİK. “This place announces the inflation figures, but no one trusts them. A group of academicians also analyzes the data on inflation. This place calculates it as 3.51 [percent], but they calculate it as 9.51 [percent],” he said.

“TÜİK is no longer a state institution, but turned to an institution of the [presidential] palace. Officials working here should not forget that they are all subject to the laws of civil servants,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Kılıçdaroğlu’s comments came shortly after TÜİK announced that the consumer price index saw a hike of 3.51% on a monthly basis in November.

The producer price index rose 9.99% from the previous month for an annual rise of 54.62%, TÜİK said.

Turkey’s annual inflation jumped more than expected to a three-year high of 21.31% in November, further exposing the risks of recent aggressive rate cuts that prompted a historic slide in the lira.

Several economists and analysts have questioned the credibility of the inflation data and polls show Turks believe it is higher given spikes in the costs of basic goods such as food and energy.

Minister Soylu calls opposition leader’s attempt to visit gov’t statistics office ‘raid’

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has targeted main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu over the latter’s visit to the state-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).

Soylu accused Kılıçdaroğlu of “being under the influence of crime and criminal organizations” for wanting to speak to the officials of TÜİK.

“The Main Opposition Party Leader would not fall into the clutches of the PKK, DHKP-C and organized criminal organizations, would not aspire to them and would not raid a place. The base of the politics and state is known,” Soylu wrote on Twitter, referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C).

It is a common tactic of the government to target the opposition with accusations of being linked to terrorism and outlawed groups, in an attempt to attract nationalist votes and change the country’s agenda.

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