Work under way to raise quality of Turkish data

Work under way to raise quality of Turkish data

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Work under way to raise quality of Turkish data

The Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) is embarking on efforts to improve its statistics and data compilation to bring them more in line with international standards. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

he President of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) Birol Aydemir said yesterday that more needs to be done to improve the quality of Turkish data and statistics and that the institution was currently working on a platform to bring Turkey’s statistics collection in line with international standards.

“A country’s statistics are only as solid as its public institutions. The less unregistered activity, the stronger the statistics,” said Aydemir at a press conference to discuss TÜİK statistics.

Aydemir said people do not often realize that to compile two to three pages of statistics and eight to ten pages of tables it required hundreds of employees behind the scenes, and that it takes time and effort to compile new data. He added that TÜİK had gone through a comprehensive reform process in 2005 and that the new law was up to par with modern European standards.

“However, it is not realistic to expect a superior performance from TÜİK independent of the real situation in Turkey. Public institutions are legally required to share their data with us, but they don’t. What can we do? There is nothing we can do. We can only send them a letter requesting that they share their data with us,” said Aydemir. Only when public institutions are more transparent with their data can TÜİK’s statistics’ compilation improve, he added. With this in mind, TÜİK is looking at ways in which to improve data collection at public institutions as well.

Website improvement

As part of its efforts to improve overall data collection, TÜİK is currently working to improve its internet site by creating one particular site where one can find all the relevant data, according to Aydemir. In addition, all the statistics and data will have to be up to a minimum standard and those that meet international standards will contain a specific logo setting them apart, explained Aydemir. He stressed that they are forming working groups with different public institutions to try to ensure that the data which do not meet international standards would be brought up to par. There are currently 40 working groups, but this number is likely to be increased to NGOs and academicians as well.

Aydemir believes that the bulk of the project will be completed by the end of the year and with the new electronic internet system, mistakes will be lowered to a minimum.

Aydemir also added that the ministry believes that tourism revenues are too low and that studies were continuing to fill in the gaps. He said that tourism revenues might not exceed $5 billion as some are saying, but that they would be more than the present amount.