Turkey’s presidency, Religious Affairs Directorate see big rise in 2019 budgets

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There will an increase of 233 percent in the budget of the Turkish presidency and a 33 percent rise in that of the Religious Affairs Directorate in 2019, according to a state budget draft revealed by Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Deutsche Welle reported.

Debate over the draft budget began at the Turkish parliament on Monday, with the opposition parties harshly criticizing the high increases in the budgets of the presidency and the Religious Affairs Directorate because Albayrak presented the draft budget as “pro-conservation.”

This is the first time that a state budget has been drafted by the presidency since Turkey adopted an executive presidential system in a referendum last year, and it went into effect with the election of current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in June of this year.

The budget of the Religious Affairs Directorate is being increased to TL 10.5 billion from 2018’s TL 7.7 billion, while cuts as high as 56 percent are being made in the budgets of the technology, transportation and energy ministries.

The budget of the presidency, which was TL 845 million in 2018, is being increased to TL 2.8 million in the 2019 budget.

Deputies from the opposition parties told Deutsche Welle that at a time when Turkey is experiencing an economic crisis, such big increases in the budgets of these two institutions are unacceptable.

Turkey has been facing a currency crisis as the lira has lost nearly 30 percent of its value against the US dollar since the beginning of the year, resulting in a surge in costs in almost all areas.

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