At a time when the Turkish economy is going through difficult times, Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) has spent TL 3.2 million (around $600,000) for decorating and renovation, the Sözcü daily reported on Monday based on a report from the country’s Court of Accounts.
The budget of the Diyanet, criticized for operating under the control of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and endorsing its policies in Turkey and abroad, has recently been increased to TL 10.5 billion for the year 2019 from TL 7.7 billion, making the Diyanet’s budget five times larger than that of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
According to the Court of Accounts’ report on expenditures made by the Diyanet, its headquarters in Ankara have been decorated again and its exterior walls have been renovated at a cost of TL 3.2 million.
The court’s report also revealed that the Diyanet owns a large number of properties, totaling 183,393 including mosques, Quran schools, residential buildings and service buildings. The inventory of 63,447 of these properties has been finalized, and their value has been set at around TL 4 billion.
The Turkish lira has lost almost 30 percent of its value against the US dollar since the beginning of 2018, with government officials frequently talking about the importance of austerity measures.