Erdoğan spends record-breaking sums from discretionary fund on eve of local elections

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has spent 1.9 billion liras (59.5 million USD) from its discretionary fund in February, a record-breaking sum on the eve of the 31 March local elections. The main opposition CHP held that the amount was five times more than last year's spending.

Duvar English

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s office spent one billion and 900 million Turkish liras (59.5 million dollars) from its discretionary funds in February 2024, revealed the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chair Deniz Yücel on March 21.   

Yücel noted that the amount had increased by 238 percent from the same period last year. The amount marked a record for the office’s monthly spending, one month before the local elections scheduled for March 31.

Yücel stated that the Presidency spent 370 million liras from its discretionary budget in 2023 February, and the five-fold increase observed this year was abnormal. 

The deputy chair added that these funds could not be allocated to personal expenses and election campaigns according to the constitution. 

“Although the constitution limits it, our distrust in the Presidency is so entrenched that it is hard to believe that the budget was not misused on local election campaigning,” stated Yücel. 

He emphasized that exorbitant resources under such discretionary funds as the Wealth Fund could not be transparently monitored in Turkey. 

Yücel also submitted a parliamentary inquiry regarding the Presidency’s questionable increase in discretionary expenditures. 

Presidential Protection Department spent 251.4 million Turkish liras in January 2024, the daily Cumhuriyet reported on March 16. 

The security department of the Presidency spent 251.4 million liras in January. The spending equals 8.4 million liras per day, which is 492 minimum wages.