A total of TL14.1 billion (around $2.4 billion) has been allocated from the state budget as discretionary funds to be used by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2020, the Birgün daily reported.
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 may 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 working through the bureaucracy.
The amount of discretionary funds for the year 2020 was mentioned in a budget bill submitted to parliament for 2020.
The amount of discretionary funds for 2019 was TL 4.8 billion, a figure that has been increased to TL 5.4 billion for 2020. The amount of additional funds, which are used as discretionary funds, was TL 7.3 billion in 2019 and has been increased to TL8.7 billion for 2020.
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 objections from opposition parties.
The president is able to use the fund “for state necessities that contain discreet intelligence and defense services; the national security and higher interests of the state; political, social and cultural purposes; and extraordinary services,” according to the regulation, which made changes to the Public Finance Management and Control Law, which provided the discretionary fund for the now-defunct prime ministry.
At the time opposition parties objected to the regulation, claiming that Erdoğan was aiming to gain control of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) with the fund, which was tied to the Prime Ministry back then.
MİT was subordinated to the presidency in August 2017.