Turkey’s opposition says social security figures withheld to hide unemployment

A lawmaker of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) accused Turkey’s Social Security Institution (SGK) of trying to veil unemployment figures by withholding its data since December, T24 reported.

Turkey’s rate of unemployment was 14.7 percent in February, remaining unchanged from January, according to Turkish Statistical Institute’s (TUİK) figures announced in May.

While TUİK announces its own unemployment figures based on Household Labour Survey every month, the figures of the SGK and the Turkish Employment Agency (İŞKUR) are also crucial to follow developments in Turkey’s jobs market.

However, SGK has not announced monthly figures since December and İŞKUR has been sharing its own data with delays, T24 said.

CHP deputy Murat Bakan this week submitted a parliamentary inquiry, asking the Minister of Labour, Social Services and Family to explain why SGK’s figures have not been announced.

Bakan said the SGK, which has the largest database on insured people, hurt its credibility by hiding official figures.

“If the SGK announced the number of registered workers, it would be understood what percentage of unemployment is related to registered workers,” Bakan said. “In periods when there are serious debates about unemployment and during election periods they are not disclosing real figures,” Bakan said.