Head of Turkish inflation research group faces disciplinary investigation

A vegetable vendor waits for customers at his stall at a street market run by women in Diyarbakir, Turkey December 22, 2021. Picture taken December 22, 2021. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar

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ISTANBUL, June 12 (Reuters) – The head of a top private Turkish research group that calculates the country’s inflation as double the official rate faces a disciplinary investigation at his job at a university based in Istanbul.

According to a document seen by Reuters, Yeditepe University launched the investigation into Veysel Ulusoy, a professor at its faculty of commerce, following an interview he gave to a local news site on the private initiative that he directs.

The university said in an email response to questions from Reuters about the case that it could not make a statement about an ongoing investigation due to confidentiality.

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According to the document, the private university requested the defense of Ulusoy regarding the possible use of the institution’s premises and resources against its objective and without the authorization of the management, acts which, if proven to have taken place, would necessitate a written reprimand and suspension of salary.

Ulusoy said he believes the investigation could result in the cancellation of his college contract.

“I expected something like this since we started this research project years ago, whatever happens in the end, we will continue to fight our battle,” Ulusoy told Reuters late on Saturday.

Data from ENAG, whose model was developed by a group of academics and researchers, showed annual inflation of 160.76% last month.

According to the TUIK statistical institute, the official annual inflation rate hit a 24-year high of 73.5% in May, fueled by the war in Ukraine, rising energy prices and falling read. Critics of President Tayyip Erdogan’s government say its current economic policies are not helping to solve the problem. Read more

Opposition lawmakers and economists questioned the reliability of TUIK’s numbers, but TUIK stood by its numbers. Opinion polls show that around 50% of Turks think inflation is much higher than official data.

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Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun Editing by Frances Kerry

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