May 10, 2023
In a piece reporting on Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s base of support, the NYT told readers:
Mr. Erdogan’s critics note that Turkey’s gross domestic product began declining about a decade ago, and annual inflation, which surpassed 80 percent last year, has left many Turks feeling poorer.
While it is true that Turkey has inflation, it is wrong to claim that Turkey’s gross domestic product has been declining. The measure the NYT cites is a dollar conversion measure. It is calculated by taking Turkey’s GDP, measured in its own currency, and then calculating its value in dollars at the current exchange rate. Since the value of the Turkish currency has fallen sharply against the dollar, Turkey’s GDP has fallen by this measure. (By this measure, Mexico’s GDP dropped by 28.0 percent from 1993 to 1995, after NAFTA took effect in 1994.)
However, this measure of GDP would be meaningless to the vast majority of people living in Turkey. The more commonly used measure is purchasing power parity GDP, which applies a common set of prices to goods and services produced anywhere in the world. By this measure, Turkey’s per capita GDP in 2022 was 47.9 percent higher than it was in 2012. That is extraordinarily rapid growth, exactly the opposite of what the NYT told its readers.