Turkish Communications Directorate spends 283 million liras prior to elections

Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate, controlled by Fahrettin Altun, spent 282.9 million liras in April alone. The opposition politicians have often criticized the directorate for spreading false information and manipulating elections.

Duvar English

Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate spent a record amount in April, a month in which the government-centered propaganda operations for the May 14 elections intensified. The Directorate spent 282.9 million liras in just one month which is the highest expenditure in the first quarter of 2023, the daily BirGün reported on May 17.

Montage videos and disinformation characterized the campaigning process for the presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14. The main opposition bloc Nation Alliance’s presidential candidate and Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on May 2 warned of "dirty deeds to be committed" for the elections and said that Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun was "playing Cambridge Analytica." 

During a rally on May 7, ruling People’s Alliance’s candidate President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan displayed a montage video depicting as if Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) executives were singing the main opposition CHP's election song. This video along with Kılıçdaroğlu’s pictures has been circulated on social media and TV channels for a long time as it is real. 

Under these circumstances, the April spending of the directorate, often accused by the opposition of spreading black propaganda, accounted for 43.72 percent of its total spending of 647.07 million liras in the first quarter of 2023.

The Presidency surpassed 12 public administrations under the central government in terms of spending in April. The Ministry of Climate Change, the Directorate for EU Affairs, the Constitutional Court, and the Court of Accounts were among the public administrations that spent less than the Directorate of Communication. 

The Communications Directorate, which has been allocated a budget of 1,631,576,000 liras for the year 2023, has already consumed 40% of its total budget in the first quarter of the year.