Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate will have a budget in 2022 that will be far bigger than the budgets of seven out of 17 ministries in the country, according to a report in the Cumhuriyet daily on Wednesday.
The directorate, also known as the Diyanet, will be allocated a budget of TL 16.1 billion ($190 million), a TL 3.2 billion increase over its 2021 budget. The Diyanet’s 2022 budget exceeds the budgets of the Interior Ministry (TL 14.7 billion), the Trade Ministry (TL 8.4 billion), the Foreign Ministry (TL 7.4 billion), the Ministry of Industry and Technology (TL 6.1 billion), the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization (TL 4.8 billion), the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (TL 4.8 billion) and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (TL 4.1 billion).
The directorate’s 2022 budget also tops the budgets allocated for the Turkish Parliament (TL 2.1 billion), the presidency (TL 3.8 billion), the Constitutional Court (TL 107.6 million), the Council of State (TL 324.3 million), the Supreme Court of Appeals (TL 485.2 million), the Court of Accounts (TL 514.3 million), the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (TL 2.4 billion), the Directorate of Communications (TL 680.1 million) and the Directorate of National Palaces (TL 277.2 million).
The directorate is one of the most controversial institutions in Turkey as it has long been criticized for promoting only Sunni Islam and for indifference to other beliefs and the needs of their followers in the country.
Although it mostly remained out of politics before the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Diyanet has gained more power and influence during its time in office, and its presidents are frequently criticized for promoting the AKP’s agenda using Islamic references.