The former Istanbul municipality, run by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), allocated more than $155,000 of its budget for the U.S. education of a deputy between 2008-2013, the daily Cumhuriyet reported on July 27.
AKP deputy Ravza Kavakçı Kan reportedly received $155,059 for her Ph.D. education and living expenses in the U.S., an inspection under main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu revealed.
"Yes, the municipal transportation company [İstanbul Ulaşım A.Ş.] filled the now-AKP deputy's pockets with money so she could study politics in the U.S.," wrote Cumhuriyet author Barış Pehlivan.
The current Istanbul municipality filed a criminal complaint at the Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, Pehlivan said, adding that he doesn't expect much to come of the prosecutorial process considering the Turkish judiciary's consistent reluctance to chastise the AKP's oversights and malpractices.
The deputy's expenses were charged under a municipality program launched on Aug. 4, 2008 that aimed to send employees abroad for training.
At the time of her acceptance to the Ph.D. program at Howard University on Nov. 24, 2008, Kan was not yet a municipal worker.
After her acceptance into the U.S. university, Kan was taken as an employee by İstanbul Ulaşım A.Ş. -- an affiliate of the municipality -- on Dec. 16, 2008.
İstanbul Ulaşım A.Ş. Director Ömer Yıldız wrote a letter of sponsorship to Howard University within a week of Kan's employment, notifying them that the municipality would pay for her education, her health insurance and her spendings.
Kan was handed $4,000 in cash ahead of her travel on Dec. 30, 2008, and was granted $2,000 in monthly stipends to follow, out of the municipality's budget.
Kan, who was elected as an AKP deputy in the 2015 elections, previously said that she would continue her "compulsory service" at the municipality company when her deputyship comes to an end.