According to the government data, yearly inflation surpassed 36% last month, but other experts believe that figure is considerably too low.
This week, the proprietor of a vegetable stall in Istanbul’s Balat neighbourhood, Selamet, took a break from serving clients to discuss something that affects everyone in Turkey: rising food prices.
“Some goods haven’t gone up as much as others because production has remained constant, but others, particularly the most often purchased commodities here, have gone up more,” he said.
Common items such as onions, eggplant, green beans, potatoes, and other vegetables have seen price increases of more than 50%, he claimed.
Food isn’t the only thing eating away at his clients’ earnings. The Turkish Statistical Institute (also known as TUIK or TurkStat), the government agency in charge of tracking inflation, announced this week that the consumer price index, or CPI, which measures highs and lows in the prices of a basket goods and services that are commonly purchased, increased by more than 36% last month compared to a year ago.
This is the most significant and sharpest increase in inflation in two decades. Selamet, on the other hand, believes that even that astonishing figure understates the severity of price constraints facing him and his clients.
Selamet speculated that they(referring to the TurkStats) must have been picky as to what products to include and which places and markets to visit for recording the data.
He added that they were a department of government, and if they claimed inflation was much greater, the government would have to pay higher wages and pensions (to retirees) Someone else to come up with a gauge of inflation was what was actually needed
Every month, within hours of TurkStat, the Inflation Research Group (ENAGroup), a research group that has independently studied price movements since 2020, publishes its own consumer price index – E-CPI.
Turkey’s annual inflation rate was 82.81 percent in December, according to ENAGroup figures, more than two times the official rate.
TurkStat claims that their Consumer Price Index (CPI) accurately gauges inflation. It filed a criminal lawsuit against ENAGroup last year, alleging that the independent researcher lied to the public. ENAGroup has since become the subject of a Turkish probe.
According to Irahim Karataş, a columnist for the Daily Sabah newspaper and general manager of the ANAR polling company, TurkStat has reason to be concerned about what could be inaccurate independent inflation measurements.
He added that every poll showed that the primary issue was the economy, and specifically, inflation.