A report by Turkey’s Court of Accounts has shown that more than TL 1.8 million (around $300,000) was spent daily in 2017 for the expenses of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s presidential palace in Ankara’s Beştepe neighborhood, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, a total of TL 658 million was spent for presidential palace expenses in 2017, which translates into a monthly expenditure of TL 54 million and a daily expenditure of TL 1.8 million.
The report showed TL 106 million was spent for salaries for employees at the presidential palace, while Erdoğan’s monthly salary is TL 53,300. Erdoğan has many advisors at the palace.
Just as was the case in the years 2015 and 2016, the amount of discretionary funds used by the president did not make its way into the Court of Accounts report.
Discretionary funds are allocated to the president, the government or state organs from a yearly state budget. Users of discretionary funds are offered some guidelines as to how they can use these funds but also enjoy flexibility in their use. These funds are not for a particular project. Discretionary funds can be used without approval from Parliament or any other state institution and are seen as tools to help the government achieve its goals without spending much time on bureaucratic work.
In March 2015, a regulation granting a discretionary fund for the presidency was passed as part of a government-sponsored omnibus bill in the Turkish Parliament despite objection from opposition parties. The amount of the discretionary funds in 2015 was TL150 million.
According to the report, around TL 36 million was spent in 2017 for representation and entertainment activities at the palace that are organized at the order of Erdoğan.
For the palace kitchen, which has recently attracted criticism for its extravagant spending on luxury foods, TL 2.6 million was spent in 2017, the Court of Accounts report said.
The presidential complex was at the center of criticism when it was constructed due to its large budget, expensive interiors, more than a thousand rooms and luxurious design as well as the felling of trees in its neighborhood.
When Erdoğan moved into the palace in November 2014, more than TL 1.7 billion had been spent on it, twice the original estimate.