Run by Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), the Islamic Research Center (İSAM) has observed a 600 percent increase in its budget between 2003 and 2019, daily BirGün reported on Sept. 22.
Recently in the news for holding symposium on Islamic fatwas about medical issues, İSAM is chaired by Raşit Küçük, one of the founding members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
İSAM's budget started out at 3.5 million liras but more than doubled from 2003 to 2006, reaching 7.6 million liras. It rose to 8.5 million liras in 2009, 11.4 million liras in 2012, 13.5 million liras in 2015, 18.5 million liras in 2017 and 24.6 million liras in 2019.
The center claimed that 75 percent of their budget was spent on wages for the 134 employees of the center, and that 15 percent was spent on bills, maintenance and capital.
Turkey Diyanet Foundation (TDV) also noted that the increased costs were a result of inflation and the center taking on more projects over the years.Should sects in Turkey be closed down?