Turkish Opposition Accuses State Agency of Hiding True Inflation
(Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s main opposition leader was barred from entering the country’s national statistics office, an hour after it published inflation data that he called untrustworthy.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, and party executives were unable to enter TurkStat’s headquarters in Ankara Friday, with an unidentified person at the building’s gate telling the group he couldn’t let them in.
“If state institutions are misleading the public and they’re operating under orders and not by law, they are guilty,” Kilicdaroglu told reporters outside the headquarters. “The statistics office has become an institution of the palace,” referring to the presidential building in Ankara.
Data showing inflation of 3.51% in November, a month when the lira depreciated 29% against the dollar, aren’t trustworthy, he said.
Annual inflation accelerated for a sixth month in November to 21.3%, the highest level in three years, driven by a slump in the lira as the central bank, under pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, lowers interest rates.
Turkey’s opposition has stepped up criticism of TurkStat, accusing it of rigging numbers to please Erdogan as the economy and currency suffer. TurkStat denies the accusation, saying it operates without political intervention and that its data are in line with European peers.
Kilicdaroglu visited the central bank on Oct. 15, holding a meeting with Governor Sahap Kavcioglu. A few days later, Erdogan said the fact that the governor met the CHP leader showed the institution’s independence.
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