Erdogan fires statistics agency chief after publishing actual inflation rate
Turkey's critical currency crisis has caused Erdogan to change a number of high-ranking officials in his administration
By News Desk - January 30 2022

File image. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking during a media conference in Ankara on 20 December 2021 (Photo Credit: Reuters).

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired the head of Turkey’s state statistics agency on 29 January following a release of figures showing that the country’s inflation rate had risen to 36.1 percent last year.

The dismissal of Erdal Dincer is the latest in a series of dismissals that have seen three central bank governors removed from their positions since July 2019.

“I sit in this office now, tomorrow it will be someone else,” Dincer said in an interview with the business newspaper Dunya earlier in January.

“Never mind who is the chairman,” Dincer said. “Can you imagine that hundreds of my colleagues could stomach or remain quiet about publishing an inflation rate very different from what they had established? I have a responsibility to 84 million people.”

Erdogan has criticized the high interest rates, which he believes will lead to higher inflation.

The 2021 inflation figure released by Dincer angered both supporters and opponents of the government.

Erdogan, meanwhile, has privately criticized the country’s statistics agency for publishing figures he felt exaggerated the scale of Turkey’s economic weakness.

Following Dincer’s ouster, Erdogan appointed Erhan Cetinkaya as the new head of the Statistics Agency without further explanation.

Cetinkaya had previously served as vice-chair of Turkey’s banking regulator.

Turkey’s currency crisis has caused Erdogan to begin a series of changes in the government body.

On 29 January, Former Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag was named as Erdogan’s new Justice Minister, replacing veteran ruling party member Abdulhamit Gul.

“I have resigned from my duties at the Ministry of Justice, which I have been serving since July 19, 2017,” Gul wrote on Twitter.

“I would like to express my gratitude … for accepting my request,” he added, without explaining his decision.

In January this year, the Turkish currency settled at around 13.5 lira to the dollar, despite no official monetary policy being set to stabilize it.

The Turkish central bank has not made any official public market interventions since December. However, experts agree the bank continued to sell dollars, albeit at a smaller scale.

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