The Turkish presidency spent TL 112,941,767 ($6 million) for expenditures under the “medical and laboratory supplies” item in 2021, more than double the previous year’s figure, local media reported on Thursday, citing a report by Turkey’s top public financial auditor.
According to the audit report released by the Court of Accounts, the presidency spent TL 10.1 million ($539,000) a day and TL 3.7 billion ($199.5 million) overall in 2020, raising eyebrows at a time when the country has been suffering from a deteriorating economy, with high inflation and unemployment.
The biggest item in the presidency’s expenditures for the year was expenses incurred in the performance of official duties, at TL 1,701,097,149 ($91.7 million), the report said.
The presidency paid TL 368,773,241 ($19.8 million) for staff expenses and TL 46,343,992 ($2.4 million) for garden supplies, which saw a five-fold increase compared to TL 9 million ($485,711) in 2020.
The presidency’s expenses under the “beverage” item rose to TL 2,813,948 ($151,731) in 2021, increasing by TL 1 million over 2020, while expenditures under the “medical and laboratory supplies” item more than doubled within the same period and reached TL 112,941,767 ($6 million).
Murat Ağırel, a journalist from the ultranationalist Yeniçağ daily, on Thursday commented on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s medical supply expenditures.
“I’m just wondering. What kind of medical and laboratory supplies are used in the Presidential Complex that they spend TL 309,000 a day for them?” he said in a tweet.
Hani sadece merak ediyorum Cumhurbaşkanlığı külliyesinde günlük 309 Bin TL lik nasıl bir Tıbbi ve Laboratuvar sarf malzemesi harcanıyor?
— Murat AĞIREL (@muratagirel) September 28, 2022
Dr. Turhan Çömez, a consulting surgeon and former MP from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who previously served as Erdoğan’s physician, also asked Health Minister Fahrettin Koca about the same expenditure item.
Stating that the medical and laboratory supplies expenditure of a health complex where 2.5 million patients are examined and treated annually is TL 25 million ($1.3 million), Çömez added, addressing Koca, “How is it that [Erdoğan] spends TL 113 million [$6 million] on medical and laboratory supplies a year? Do you have any explanation for that?”
Yılda 2.5 milyon hastanın muayene ve tedavi edildiği bir sağlık kompleksinin laboratuvar sarf malzemesi harcaması 25 milyon liradır.
Nasıl oluyor da bir sarayda yılda 113 milyon TL laboratuvar sarf malzemesi harcaması yapılıyor?
Bir açıklaman var mı buna?@drfahrettinkoca
— Op Dr Turhan Comez (@ComezTurhan) September 28, 2022
There is widespread speculation about the health of President Erdoğan, 68, in Turkey, with many claiming that he has serious health problems and can only appear in public thanks to the use of heavy medication.
He was often seen in public or before the cameras having difficulty speaking and moving.
In 2011 Erdoğan, then prime minister, underwent laparoscopic gastrointestinal surgery.
Although Erdoğan and his wife, Emine Erdoğan, frequently give advice about frugality, their lavish lifestyle and penchant for luxury have increasingly been attracting public criticism.