Turkish inflation research group lead faces disciplinary inquiry

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A vegetable vendor waits for customers at her stall in a women-led street market 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 high-profile Turkish private research group that calculates the country's inflation as being twice the official rate is facing a disciplinary inquiry at his job in an Istanbul-based university.

According to a document seen by Reuters, Yeditepe University launched the inquiry into Veysel Ulusoy, a professor at its commercial sciences faculty, over an interview he gave to a local news website about the private initiative he leads.

The university said in an emailed response to Reuters' questions about the case that it cannot make a statement about an ongoing inquiry due to confidentiality.

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According to the document, the private university requested Ulusoy's defence concerning possible use of the institution's premises and resources against its purpose and without permission by the management, acts that if they are shown to have taken place would require a written reprimand and suspension of pay.

Ulusoy said he believed the inquiry could result in cancellation of his academic contract.

"I have been expecting something like this since we started this research project years ago, whatever happens in the end we will keep fighting our battle," Ulusoy told Reuters late on Saturday.

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

According to the statistics institute TUIK, the official annual inflation rate rose to a 24-year high of 73.5% in May, fuelled by the war in Ukraine, rising energy prices and a tumbling lira. Critics of President Tayyip Erdogan's government say its current economic policies are not helping resolve the issue. read more

Opposition lawmakers and economists have questioned the reliability of TUIK's figures, but TUIK has stood by its figures. Opinion polls show about 50% of Turks believe inflation is far higher than official data.

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Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun Editing by Frances Kerry

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