Communications Directorate says spike in its spending due to Feb. 6 quakes

Cevdet Yılmaz, an aide to the Turkish President, has stated that the Communications Directorate’s increased spending was due to the Feb. 6 earthquakes and not elections in response to the main opposition CHP MP’s question in Parliament. 

Ceren Bayar / Gazete Duvar

Cevdet Yılmaz, an aide to the Turkish President, on Dec. 20 attributed the increased spending by the Presidential Communications Directorate to aid and coordination efforts during the Feb. 6 earthquakes. 

The statement came in response to main opposition CHP MP Cevdet Akay’s question, “Why did the Communications Directorate’s spending dramatically increase during the general election period?”

Yılmaz responded that the directorate sent donations of food, clothing, and tents to earthquake survivors and set up mobile communication centers, restrooms, generators, fuel, and trailers for foreign and domestic members of the press operating in the area. 

The aide thus attributed the increased spending of the directorate to earthquake relief efforts and not the general elections. 

The Directorate had spent 50.2 million Turkish liras (1.7 million dollars) in February 2022, and 188.8 million liras ( 6.5 million dollars) in February 2023. 

The Directorate had spent 72 percent of its budget in the first five months of 2023, which coincided with the general election period. Opposition parties had criticized the drastic increase in the directorate’s budget as the public office was used for the election campaign of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

The directorate widely circulated montage video clips depicting Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) executives singing the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) election song, which were later acknowledged by President Erdoğan as being a montage footage.

(English version by Ayşenaz Toptaş)