Turkey’s Presidential Security Department, which is responsible for the protection of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his family members as well as the presidential residences, spent more than TL 263.6 million ($35.9 million) in 2020, the Birgün daily reported on Tuesday.
According to data from Turkey’s Security General Directorate (EGM), the department spent more than two and a half times the amount the Parliamentary Protection Department spent in the same period, Birgün said.
The Presidential Security Department outdistanced many others affiliated with the EGM, including the Intelligence Department, the Anti-Narcotics Crimes Department and the Counterterrorism Department, which spent TL 186 million ($35.3 million), TL 96.3 million ($13.1 million) and TL 77 million ($10.5 million), respectively, in 2020.
Erdoğan’s large security detail, traveling with him in a convoy of more than 10 vehicles, has drawn criticism for extravagance due to the use of a number of luxurious official cars and also for making Erdoğan, who was called the “man of the nation” in campaign slogans, inaccessible to the people.
According to official data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), 4,801 people have died by suicide in Turkey due to financial problems since 2002, when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power, with 1,370 of the suicides taking place in the last five years.
Meanwhile, the net minimum wage announced for 2021 was TL 2,826 ($377.8), the lowest figure in US dollars for a monthly net minimum wage in the last 11 years.