Salaries for new presidential agencies put extra burden on Turkey’s budget

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The presidential palace in Ankara

Members of nine newly established presidential agencies who will work with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will each be paid a monthly salary of TL 11,794 (around $2,000), putting more strain on Turkey’s already weak budget, according to what Sözcü columnist Çiğdem Toker wrote in her article on Wednesday.

Since Erdoğan became Turkey’s first executive president with extended powers in the June 24 presidential election, nine Presidential Policy Agencies have been established at the presidency, and a total of 76 members including businessmen, singers, retired generals and academics were appointed to these agencies on Tuesday.

Toker wrote that she calculated the monthly salaries of these people from the first presidential decree, which was published in the Official Gazette shortly after Turkey switched to an executive presidency from a parliamentary system of governance.

Among the members of the presidential agencies are retired general and SADAT A.Ş. International Defense Consulting founder Adnan Tanrıverdi, who is also one of Erdoğan’s advisors; singer Orhan Gencebay; politician Burhan Kuzu; economist and Erdoğan advisor Yiğit Bulut; and businessman Mehmet Ali Yalçındağ.

According to Toker’s column, each member of these agencies will receive a yearly salary of TL 141,528 ( around $23,000) from the state budget, and the yearly salary cost to the state for all members will be TL10.7 million ($1.8 million).

The columnist wrote at a time when the government is talking about reducing the number of ministries as part of efforts to maintain fiscal discipline and save money, the presidential agencies place a big burden on the state budget.

“If these agencies are going to produce policies, then what will the ministries do? What is the guarantee that the new system, which was established with the claim that the executive body will act more speedily, will not become heavier with the new bureaucracy?” asked the columnist.

Turkey has been facing a currency crisis as the lira has lost nearly 40 percent of its value against the US dollar since the beginning of the year, resulting in a surge in costs in almost all areas.

Yearly inflation reached 24.52 percent in September, according to data released earlier last week.

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