State statistics body discloses figures early again, apologizes

State statistics body discloses figures early again, apologizes

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
State statistics body discloses figures early again, apologizes

Food industry workers are seen at an assembly line in an Istanbul plant in this file photo. Turkey’s unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent in November last year, according to official data. DAILY NEWS photo

Less than two months after facing criticism in a “data release” scandal, Turkey’s state-run statistics institute (TÜİK) has found itself caught in a second scandal, with a contracted information company revealing the routine unemployment data via mobile text messages 35 minutes earlier than the official date.

TÜİK said in an official statement that the contracted company was to blame and it has launched a legal action.

“A legal action has [been] started regarding the company due to an error in its service, destructing the principle of the public’s simultaneous access to data. We apologize for failing to share the family hold workforce simultaneously,” it said.

TÜİK sources said the company in charge was Ester, an Eskişehir-based firm that already carries joint projects with the state-run body. Ester executives were not available for immediate response to the Daily News’ questions on the issue.

TÜİK said the problem was technical.

The misdoing launched a fresh debate on whether such contracted firms can see the crucial
economic data prior to official release.

The company, which cooperates with the three leading mobile operators in the country, says on its website that several other state institutions such as the property developer TOKİ, electricity grids operator TEDAŞ, postal services, health Ministry, customs, Istanbul Stock Exchange and a number of universities were among its customers.

The monthly inflation data was released earlier than its official time by Reuters news agency in early December, triggering a temporary market fluctuation.

TÜİK President Birol Aydemir described the news agency’s actions as “very wrong.” The data was obtained by the news agency at 9:43 a.m. and released immediately.

Reuters has denied any misconduct after it was accused of disclosing this week’s inflation 17 minutes earlier than the official release time.

“Reuters did not have any access to any information on the TÜİK web site, which was not open to public. Reuters did not use any special method to breach the security or any other protection measures on TÜİK’s website,” the agency said in a statement.

Jobless rate unchanged Turkey’s unemployment rate, meanwhile, remained unchanged at 9.1 percent in November 2012, according to official data.

The rate in non-agricultural sectors was 11.4 percent in the same period, indicating a slight improvement, the data said.

The jobless rate stood at 9.1 percent both in the same period a year earlier and in September. However, slightly more than 1 million jobs were created compared to the same period last year.

TÜİK calculates unemployment rates in three-month periods, naming the data with the second month.
According to a recent Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) forecast, 1 million people will join the labor force in Turkey in 2013 and 2014.

The figure will be only 372,973 in Europe in the same period, the forecast said.