The Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) continues to not disclose data on the total number of deaths in 2020 in a diversion from a 71-year old tradition of publishing annual data on deaths in a health statistics yearbook every year, the daily Birgün reported.
Exercising the right to information, the newspaper Birgün asked TÜİK officials on 28 December 2021 why they had postponed the release of data supposed to be released on 23 June 2021. They received TÜİK’s answer two days later.
TÜİK answered stating that the two sources for the data was the Central Population Registration System (MERNIS) within the Turkish ministry of the interior, and the Death Reporting System within the ministry of health, and the release of the data had been postponed due to the ‘incompletion of work in these organisations.’
Birgün’s question as to when the data was expected to be released was left unanswered by TÜİK.
The Turkish minister of health, however, had earlier indicated that TÜİK was responsible for the release of mortality data.
The minister Fahrettin Koca had said: “This is TÜİK’s problem. We will all see the data when it’s released.”
The overall mortality data has become crucial after the emergence of the COVİD-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020 as the data helps to assess the real situation caused by the pandemic.
The administration of president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been under constant criticism that the real number of COVİD-19 deaths is concealed from the public and that the official figures are far below the real ones.
A day after TÜİK announced its postponement of the release of mortality data for 2020, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) released a statement indicating that the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 was estimated to be around 150,000 as of June 2021.
The official number of COVID-19 deaths has been announced to be slightly below 82,000 at the end of 2021.