EconoMonitor

The Kapali Carsi

Turkish government’s “coal for votes” program

At 4.6 percent yoy, April industrial production, which was released yesterday (June 9), turned out to higher than expectations of 3.5 percent.

At first glance, the data confirms the dichotomy between domestic and external demand. While sectors catering to domestic demand grew moderately, production in export-oriented sectors such as textiles, chemicals and motor vehicles rose substantially.

But the most interesting part of yesterday’s release, IMHO, was the 30 percent annual rise in coal and lignite production, which came right before the Soma mining incident in May that cost 301 lives- as I explained in my column on the subject, I refuse to call it an accident. Remember that the data are for all coal & lignite companies, not just the one in Soma. And still, I wonder if the increase in production was one of the reasons, if not the main reason, of the incident. The coal & lignite production data go back to 2005, and so I could check its correlation with accidents, but unfortunately, data on accidents at the sectoral level is only available in an annual level. But still, as in yesterday’s post, I am trying to encourage an academic with more time than me to go over to the Social Security Institution and ask for monthly accident data for the sector. Then maybe, I could summarize their findings here at the blog in a few weeks or months…

Anyway, the data made me curious about another claim: That the government has been handing out coal before the elections. I remember seeing some government statements on the amount of “coal aid”, but we never know how much of it are actually before the elections, and I thought I could look at production data for that. And I therefore, I graphed the three-month moving average of the yearly growth rate of coal & lignite production and voila:

As you can see, there is a clear increase in production before the July 2007 and 2011 general elections as well as the March 2009 and 2014 local elections. In fact, production has been on an upward trend for the past few months, as the August 2014 presidential elections are on the horizon…

2 Responses to “Turkish government’s “coal for votes” program”

Emre Deliveli edeliveliJune 13th, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Nope, I guess that\’s what we\’d call a type I error:) But that\’s the only one…