Report on Observance of Standards and Codes: Data Module, Response by the Authorities, and Detailed Assessment Using the Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF)

This report examines the Observance of Standards and Codes on the Data Module for Turkey. Progress in data quality reflects the authorities’ commitment to set statistical development on a high and sustainable path, and to address remaining challenges. A cornerstone of this effort is the more robust framework established by the new Statistics Law of Turkey of November 2005. This law assigned compilation responsibilities for a broad range of official data, including macroeconomic statistics.


This report examines the Observance of Standards and Codes on the Data Module for Turkey. Progress in data quality reflects the authorities’ commitment to set statistical development on a high and sustainable path, and to address remaining challenges. A cornerstone of this effort is the more robust framework established by the new Statistics Law of Turkey of November 2005. This law assigned compilation responsibilities for a broad range of official data, including macroeconomic statistics.

I. Overall Assessment

1. The macroeconomic statistics are generally of high quality, broadly conforming to international standards for compilation and dissemination, and reflecting considerable improvement since the 2001 data ROSC. However, some scope for improvement remains, including on the accuracy and reliability of the national accounts and the government finance statistics (GFS), coverage of the consumer and producer price indices (CPI, PPI), timeliness of the accounts of the banking sector, and ease of access to documentation for fiscal and monetary data. Many of the actions needed for further progress are already underway or envisaged in the Official Statistics Program 2007-11, the product of a large-scale process of consultation that began in 2006 after the enactment of new statistics legislation.

2. Recent progress in data quality reflects the authorities’ commitment to set statistical development on a high and sustainable path, and to address remaining challenges. A cornerstone of this effort is the more robust framework established by the new Statistics Law of Turkey (No. 5429) of November 2005. This law assigned compilation responsibilities for a broad range of official data, including macroeconomic statistics. With compilation responsibilities more clearly defined, Turkstat is coordinating the planning for data improvement within a disciplined timetable. The law endowed the Turkish Statistical Institute (Turkstat) with a lead role in taking the statistical system forward, explicitly enshrining principles to sustain transparency and integrity. Also, it strengthened the institutional support for statistics by creating a coordinating mechanism (the Statistical Council) and devices to guide and monitor progress (the Official Statistics Program (OSP) and the Strategic Plan). This more robust institutional framework includes users’ feedback and access to review compilation practices.

3. Progress also has taken the form of a paradigm shift in methodology, implementation of more advanced techniques and extensive source data, and greater attention to user needs. On methodological progress, the national accounts now conform to 1995 European System of Accounts (1995 ESA), the balance of payments (BOP) more closely observes the 5th Edition of the Balance of Payment Manual (BPM5), the monetary and financial statistics (MFS) adhere to the Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual (MFSM), and the government finance statistics (GFS) are in transition to the Government Finance Statistical Manual 2001 (GFSM 2001). On techniques, compilation of the national accounts now uses annual chain volume measures, and the CPI and PPI also have been converted to annual chain indices. Users benefit from improved access to more and higher frequency macroeconomic data through electronic means. Against this backdrop of considerable success in increasing the volume and frequency of data, compilers of fiscal data face the challenge of further intensifying inter-agency cooperation, including to ensuring propagation of new practices and know-how, and for users to be adequately cautioned about the various vintages of data spanning different periodicities, organizing criteria, and intended uses. While resources are broadly adequate, some supplementation might be needed in future to keep up with the fast pace of improvement.

4. While good statistical work has a long tradition in Turkey, several factors have converged this decade to give strong impetus to the creation of a basis for rapid progress. The authorities’ interest in accession to the European Union (EU) has led to extensive work aimed at achieving comparability with the EU statistical system and meeting requirements specified in Chapter 18 of the Aquis Communataire. This system-wide effort has been assisted by EU financial and technical support, which has contributed to advances in the national accounts. Sound policies adopted in the aftermath of the 2001 crisis facilitated a robust and sustained economic expansion through mid-2008. This along with considerable investment inflows have further increased the demand by policymakers and other users for high-frequency and accurate macroeconomic data. Successive programs with the Fund this decade also reinforced interest in key data to formulate policy and assess macroeconomic performance and vulnerabilities. The convergence of these factors has contributed to a consensus that efforts at statistical progress are a priority. While the EU effect is likely to be continuing, additional challenges will have to be met as new data needs emerge, the financial markets develop further, and statistical standards continue to evolve.

5. Attention to user needs and good dissemination practices are supported by observance of the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS). Turkey subscribed to the SDDS on August 8, 1996 and started posting its metadata on the IMF’s Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB) on July 20, 2001. Turkey is in observance of the SDDS, meeting specifications for coverage, periodicity, timeliness, and dissemination of advance release calendars, and exceeding specifications in some areas. Turkey uses flexibility options on the timeliness of the analytical accounts of the banking sector. For all datasets, summary up-to-date methodological statements are posted on the DSBB. Appendix I provides an overview of dissemination practices compared with the SDDS.

6. Based on the IMF’s Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF), the mission has arrived at the following conclusions:

7. Prerequisites of quality and assurances of integrity

  • The activities of the Turkish Statistical Institute (Turkstat) are amply supported by a new law that embeds modern principles to guide the activities of the national statistical system. The new Statistical Council, which is chaired by the President of Turkstat and includes leading officials of key compiling ministries and agencies and relevant private sector representatives, is helping to impart priority to agreed objectives set out in the OSP. In this context, agencies responsible for the macroeconomic statistics generally collaborate effectively to comply with key national (budget formulation and macroeconomic planning) and international objectives linked to the process of EU accession and Turkey’s relationship with the Fund and the rest of the international community. Turkstat’s guiding role is facilitated by the work of its boards tasked with Data Quality Control and Publication and Dissemination, which promote systematic use of best practices.

  • The legal and institutional environment under which the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Undersecretariat of the Treasury (Treasury), and State Planning Organization (SPO) of the Prime Minister’s Office compile government finance statistics remains complex but supportive. This is because of the challenging nature of tasks. While the MOF has responsibility for compiling data on the general government, Treasury is responsible for data on financing and debt. In addition, the OSP assigns the SPO responsibility for producing data on the consolidated operations of the public sector. Responsibilities are clearly defined and the work of the Treasury and MOF is well coordinated for existing compilation activities. Nevertheless, intensified collaboration could help expedite an integrated approach to fiscal data compilation coordinated by one agency and facilitate ongoing methodological development (including use of a single chart of accounts and uniform economic and functional classifications by all levels of government and public entities). Compilation is objective, impartial and supported by ethical guidelines in laws and regulations.

  • The 1970 Law of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) was amended in 2001 to strengthen its independence, and the 2005 Statistics Law further buttressed the CBRT’s framework for effective data production. The CBRT has a tradition of data dissemination for the benefit of policymakers and the public. Following the 2001 amendment, preparations began for an inflation targeting regime (IT), which was adopted in early 2006. The strong emphasis placed by IT on transparency and publication of information further solidified discipline in the dissemination of statistics and the commitment to provide the public with assurances of integrity. The Council of Ministers appoints the Governor of the CBRT (also the Chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee) for a renewable term of five years. Data production is under the responsibility of a department dedicated exclusively to statistics, which supports good performance. The CBRT maintains close relations with relevant agencies, including the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA). Resources are commensurate with current tasks, although some supplementation will likely be needed in view of laudably ambitious plans. Emphasis on quality is high, as reflected by the promotion of training and research and an ongoing search for avenues for improvement. The CBRT recruits qualified staff, and promotes professionalism and ethical standards.

8. The methodological foundations of the macroeconomic statistics are generally sound and reflect substantial improvement since the 2001 data ROSC. Following a recent significant upgrade, the national accounts have achieved close alignment with the 1995 ESA, and work is underway to extend their scope to incorporate the sequence of accounts for the total economy, annual supply and use tables, and institutional sector accounts. The CPI and the PPI generally conform to international standards, although the CPI lacks a component to represent owner-occupied housing. The PPI is compiled only by product (and not by economic activity) and its scope could be expanded to include exports and services. Compilation of the GFS is already in transition from the guidelines in the Manual on Government Finance Statistics 1986 (GFSM 1986) toward those in the more ambitious 1995 ESA and GFSM 2001, with the MOF leading the way. The MOF has begun compiling GFSM 2001-consistent data for the central government, but it has yet to incorporate local government units and social security institutions to compile general government data, and the data on local government total debt could be improved further. In the interim, three agencies prepare various fiscal aggregates mostly on mixed bases (i.e., cash/accrual), but users are well-served by a wealth of data. Commendably, the data prepared by the SPO cover the consolidated operations of the public sector. For the national accounts, price, and government finance statistics, the remaining challenges in coverage appear manageable with remedial action already planned or underway in most cases. Both the MFS and the BOP statistics are underpinned by international best practice, although some transactions in the BOP continue to be recorded on a cash basis and asset classification in the MFS needs further improvement, albeit with a narrower scope than in 2001.

9. While the accuracy and reliability of the BOP have improved in recent years, the national accounts and the GFS could be buttressed further by more timely use of additional data sources. From heavy reliance on banking records in 2001, the CBRT has since made substantial progress in the use of surveys. The national accounts could benefit from the incorporation of data from annual collections, the development of independent estimates of household consumption, the collection of quarterly information on inventory changes, and further enhancement of estimates for the non-observed economy. Such work would provide a higher level of confidence in estimates of the components of aggregate demand and national saving. The main challenge for the GFS is the need to use effectively the timely data that have become available with the introduction of the centralized automated say 2000i information system, which records the financial transactions of the central government. Transforming these source data with appropriate adjustments would facilitate compilation of the general government statistics. Source data for the MFS are of high quality, but extensive and rigorous reporting requirements on banks give rise to a long lag in data submission to the CBRT. For some datasets, revision studies are seldom prepared and generally not published.

10. Serviceability of the macroeconomic statistics is very good in most cases. Most notably, the service to the users of CBRT data is excellent, with weekly periodicity for the MFS and the timeliness and periodicity of the BOP statistics exceeding SDDS prescriptions. In addition, the reconciliation of the BOP data with stocks has been facilitated by the dissemination of the annual International Investment Position (IIP) starting in 2002, with monthly IIP indicators published since April 2008. Publication of the data on depository corporations falls short of SDDS timeliness prescriptions, although an entitled flexibility option is taken. Macroeconomic data are consistent within the dataset and over time, but insufficient efforts are made by most compiling units to ensure inter-dataset consistency.

11. Significant resources and the focus devoted to accessibility of macroeconomic data have yielded good results, but further improvement would be welcome. There are no seasonally adjusted national accounts or BOP estimates, and there is a need for more detail such as quarterly income components of GDP, GDP per capita, GDP per person employed, and implicit price deflators. There is insufficient guidance to GFS users on the various aggregates produced for similar concepts. For instance, the MOF disseminates separate datasets on the central government and the local government, with unconsolidated accounts of these two levels of government. In contrast, the SPO publishes consolidated data on the general government and the public sector. On the positive side, major publications by the SPO, MOF, Treasury, and the CBRT provide analyses based on published data. Such publications include the Inflation Reports and the Medium-Term Program (including the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework). For most datasets, detailed data and good metadata are readily available in various formats and statistics are disseminated according to a pre-announced calendar. Unpublished nonconfidential data are generally made available to users upon request. Publications and web pages list contact information, publications, and other services. Commendably, the weekly monetary data are provided with ample detail and multiple formats (including in “the framework of the Stand-By-Agreement with the Fund”).

12. Section II of this report provides a summary assessment of data quality by agency and dataset. This is followed by staff recommendations in Section III. The authorities’ response to this report and a volume of detailed assessments are presented in separate documents.

II. Assessment by Agency and Dataset

13. Assessments of the quality of six macroeconomic datasets—national accounts, consumer price, producer price, government finance, monetary, and balance of payments statistics—were conducted using the Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF, July 2003). In this section, the results are presented at the level of the DQAF elements and using a four-point rating scale (Table 1). Assessments of the prerequisites of data quality and the assurances of integrity (Dimensions “0” and “1” of the DQAF) are presented in Tables 2ad. For each dataset, the assessment of methodological soundness, accuracy and reliability, serviceability, and accessibility (Dimensions “2” to “5” of the DQAF) are shown in Tables 3af.

Table 1.

Turkey: Data Quality Assessment Framework—Summary Results

Key to symbols: O = Practice Observed; LO = Practice Largely Observed; LNO =Practice Largely Not Observed; NO = Practice Not Observed; NA = Not Applicable

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Practice observed: current practices generally in observance meet or achieve the objectives of DQAF internationally accepted statistical practices without any significant deficiencies. Practice largely observed: some departures, but these are not seen as sufficient to raise doubts about the authorities’ ability to observe the DQAF practices. Practice largely not observed: significant departures and the authorities will need to take significant action to achieve observance. Practice not observed: most DQAF practices are not met. Not applicable: used only exceptionally when statistical practices do not apply to a country’s circumstances.
Table 2a.

Turkey: Assessment of Data Quality—Turkish Statistical Institute (Turkstat)

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Table 2b.

Turkey: Assessment of Data Quality—Ministry of Finance (MOF)

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Table 2c.

Turkey: Assessment of Data Quality—Office of the Prime Minister: Undersecretariat of the Treasury (Treasury), and Office State Planning Organization (SPO)

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Table 2d.

Turkey: Assessment of Data Quality—Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT)

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Table 3a.

Turkey: Assessment of Data Quality—National Accounts

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Table 3b.

Turkey: Assessment of Data Quality—Consumer Price Index

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Table 3c.

Turkey: Assessment of Data Quality—Producer Price Index

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Table 3d.

Turkey: Assessment of Data Quality—Government Finance Statistics

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Table 3e.

Turkey: Assessment of Data Quality—Balance of Payments

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Table 3f.

Turkey: Assessment of Data Quality—Monetary Statistics

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14. To inform its assessment, the mission conducted a user survey and interviewed selected users eliciting views on the macroeconomic statistics. While survey responses and interviews were few (13 survey responses and six additional interviews), results confirmed the findings of the 2001 data ROSC mission and those of the User Satisfaction Survey conducted by Turkstat in 2004. In particular, there was overall satisfaction with the macroeconomic statistics, although users aspired to more detail, better timeliness, and more robust inter-dataset consistency. Users appeared to be more satisfied with price, monetary, and balance of payments statistics. They saw more scope for improvement in the publication of the national accounts (particularly coverage and detail) and in the GFS (data on local governments and social security funds as well as metadata). Users were interested in more frequency for the GFS and better timeliness for the national accounts, balance of payments, and government finance statistics. Interest in greater timeliness came with readiness to accommodate more revisions under a clear policy of revisions, with respondents pointing to the need for more information on such policies. Users were aware of advance release calendars, except in the case of the GFS. All users obtained data through websites and virtually all were satisfied with data accessibility, except for a fifth of the users of the national accounts. Many respondents pointed to a need for better access to metadata and improved user support.

III. Staff’s Recommendations

15. Staff’s recommendations are aimed at redressing shortcomings identified in the assessments, which are based on the review of statistical practices, discussions with the data producing agencies, and input from users. Recommendations propose ways to further increase observance of international standards. Their implementation would help enhance the usefulness of the published macroeconomic statistics. Some additional technical suggestions are included in the companion Detailed Assessments volume.

Cross-cutting Recommendations

  • Conduct regular inter-agency consultation to verify consistency among the macroeconomic datasets. For example, this should include regular meetings to reconcile fiscal data with monetary data (also verifying consistency of coverage) as well as with national accounts estimates of public consumption and investment.

  • Give greater priority to the periodic conduct of revision studies to better inform compilation and users.

National Accounts

High priority

  • Integrate a regular annual estimation process into the existing—mainly quarterly based—extrapolation system for compiling the national accounts. To this end, construct annual supply and use tables in current and constant prices using data from the annual structural business survey and other available sources.

  • Compile a more independent measure of household final consumption expenditure, both annually and quarterly, using data from the annual business survey for retail and service industries, the new quarterly service industry collection, and other sources.

  • Collect information on changes in inventories (at least for the major stock holding industries-mining, manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade) on a quarterly basis.

  • Produce results from the annual structural business survey on a more timely basis.

  • Compile and publish the sequence of accounts for the total economy on an annual—and preferably quarterly—basis.

  • Seasonally adjust all published quarterly national accounts estimates.


  • Reconstruct the GDP series on the new 1995 ESA basis as far back as possible.

  • Publish a series for gross national income in the next quarterly national accounts release (necessary data are available from the BOP), ensuring that migrant transfers are not taken into account.

  • Publish estimates for the income components of GDP and compensation of employees by industry as part of the quarterly national accounts release.

  • Publish more components of gross fixed capital formation (such as software, mineral exploration expenditure) in the quarterly national accounts.

  • Calculate explicit adjustments for the non-observed economy on an annual basis, rather than extrapolating the 2002 benchmark estimates.

  • Develop a methodology for adjusting value-added for the understatement of income and overstatement of expenses in data collected from businesses.

Consumer and Production Price Indices

High priority

  • Estimate CPI market basket weights for durable goods using households’ net purchases.

  • Expand CPI coverage to include housing costs for owner-occupants, possibly by compiling a separate index similar to those used to measure core inflation.

  • Expedite planned expansion of PPI coverage by compiling export indices.


  • Include compilation of PPI by economic activity in medium-term plans.

  • Move forward with plan to further expand PPI coverage to include the service sector, possibly on a flow basis, beginning with public transportation and communication.

Government Finance Statistics

High priority

  • Disseminate (MOF, Treasury, and SPO) a clear roadmap on the nature and inter-relationships of the various published fiscal datasets to guide users match data with their needs, while directing them to the appropriate website location via hyperlinks.

  • Compile and disseminate (MOF) consolidated accounts of the general government, specifying the consolidated accounts of components. This will require expediting efforts to use available source data (on accrual basis) to produce timely estimates of the finances of the local governments and the social security entities.

  • Further intensify collaboration (MOF, Treasury, and SPO) to expedite an integrated approach to compiling fiscal data coordinated by one agency as well as to accelerate ongoing implementation of a single chart of accounts and the same economic and functional classifications by all levels of government and public entities.


  • Disseminate (Treasury) additional data on public debt, based on the residency criterion.

  • Collaborate (all agencies) for publication of comprehensive statistics on the total debt of local governments.

  • Publish (SPO) a study of experience in preparing fiscal data in order to inform the public on statistical processes for compiling consolidated public sector data covering the budgetary central government, extrabudgetary funds, social security institutions, local governments, and state-owned enterprises.

Balance of Payments

High priority

  • Improve the coverage of noncash disbursements for government loans and nonbank external deposit assets; the recording of bonds issued abroad held by residents, financial derivatives, and equity/debt security assets; and further develop/improve surveys on FDI (quarterly) and services.

  • Extend market valuation to all tradable debt instruments, and record on an accrual basis investment income in the BOP and external debt in the IIP.

  • Compile regularly a detailed BOP/IIP reconciliation table and publish a summary reconciliation table in 2009.

  • Allocate more staff resources to compilation of BOP and IIP for further expanding the set of supporting surveys and implementing the upcoming BPM6 in due course.


  • Disseminate quarterly IIP data (as encouraged by SDDS) and comprehensive IIP metadata.

  • Assess regularly the consistency of BOP/IIP statistics, including with data from trading partners (DOTS) and creditors’ data (JEDH).

Monetary Statistics

High priority

  • Bring the timeliness of the monetary survey and the analytical accounts of the banking sector in line with the SDDS prescription. To this end, move expeditiously, in collaboration with the BRSA, to streamline the reporting system without loss of necessary detail.

  • Identify and report separately financial derivatives in the “sectoral accounts.”

  • Address discrepancies in inter-bank data.


  • Identify separately the MMFs that issue “Type B Liquid Funds” in the “Institutional Sector List” to facilitate appropriate classification by reporters.

  • Adhere more closely to the terminology in the MFSM, particularly to describe financial instruments, and explain in footnotes any deviations, when warranted.

Appendix I. Coverage, Periodicity, and Timeliness—Practices Compared with the SDDS

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Italics indicate recommended or encouraged categories.

Given that the data are broadly disseminated by private means, the timeliness with which official data are disseminated is not critical.

Turkey is availing itself of a flexibility option on the timeliness of the Analytical accounts of the banking sector data. Under this flexibility option the timeliness is NLT two months after the reference period. Due to year-end delays, data for February are disseminated NLT three months and data for December and January NLT four months after the reference period.