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Lawmaker calls staff of 53 advisers to Turkish parliament speaker ‘extravagant’

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An opposition deputy has called Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop’s staff of 53 advisors “extravagant,” the Birgün daily reported on Wednesday.

Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), submitted a parliamentary question on Nov. 13 asking for the number of advisers employed by the speaker’s office.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Sadi Süreyya Bilgiç provided a written response on Dec. 12, saying 53 advisers are employed by the speaker’s office, although the bylaws allow the employment of up to 60 advisers in various positions.

“Advisers are employed to help the speaker in matters of importance,” Bilgiç said in his response.

Tanrıkulu, who spoke to Birgün about Bilgiç’s response, claimed the numbers point to extravagance.

“How can a speaker consult with 53 people?” Tanrıkulu was quoted by Birgün as asking, “Even in the Turkish Parliament, vacancies are being filled by cronies. There’s no other explanation.”

Şentop was elected speaker by lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

Critics have long accused the AKP of extravagance and nepotism, and the opposition denounces party leader President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s squandering of public funds and favoritism.

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