Statement from ASA and RSS on the Dismissal of Turkish Statistics Chair

Following the late January news of the dismissal of Sait Erdal Dinçer as head of the Turkish Statistical Institute, the ASA joined with the Royal Statistical Society on the following joint statement issued on February 4:

The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) and the American Statistical Association (ASA) note with concern the dismissal of Sait Erdal Dinçer as head of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) by Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, at a time when the country is experiencing high levels of inflation.

The United Nations’ Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics clearly set out the professional and scientific standards for official statistics, to ensure reliable and robust information to aid decision-making. As learned societies with memberships of government statisticians across the world, the RSS and ASA look to highlight the importance of these principles in maintaining public trust.

The RSS and ASA condemn political interference in the production of official statistics and urge President Erdoğan to reassure those statisticians working for the TUIK that they are free to produce objective statistical information that serves not just the government but the Turkish public. This is essential to ensure a healthy democracy in Turkey and to maintain international credibility in its statistics.

The ASA Committee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights reviewed the statement and recommended the ASA Board of Directors endorse the statement.