Turkey’s Religious Affairs overspends by millions

The Directorate of Religious Affairs again has a budget deficit, as it spends an extra 380 million TL
Wednesday, 14 March 2018 14:49

The Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet, improperly using public money, has managed to exceed its allocated budget of 6.8 billion TL [$1,768,987,884].

The Diyanet had a deficit in its budget and spend approximately an extra 380 million TL [~$99 million] within this year.

Diyanet spent most of its money on its bloated staff consisting of approximately 110,000 people. 78% of the budget was used for staff expenses, and 14.17% was used for social security institutions as state premium costs. While the Diyanet allocated 5.4 billion TL [~$1.4 billion] to staff, it overspent 111.8 million TL [~$29 million]. Thus, the staff expenses of the Diyanet rose to 5.6 billion TL [~$1.45 billion].  

The Diyanet also granted 113.3 million TL [~$29 million] to "non-profit organizations." On top of this, a budget of 38.5 million TL [~$10 million] from the 2017 budget was allocated for national and overseas trips of Diyanet staff. The travel expenditure of Diyanet has been 73.4 million TL [~$19 million]. In addition to these, the Diyanet spent 2.7 million TL [$702 thousand] on representation and advertising.

Diyanet had transferred more than two times its budget to pro-government foundations and associations, while taxes paid by citizens are used to promote their activities. It had gotten a grant of 29 million TL [~$7.5 million] and funnelled more than 71 million [~$18.5 million] to pro-government foundations and associations in 2017.

Diyanet had spent 75 million TL [~$19,5 million] alone on renovation projects of its institutional buildings in 2017. Diyanet spent 4.3 billion lira [~$1,118 billion] in 7 months alone, and demanded to be allocated extra funding for an amount of $340 million for the rest of the year.

It is also striking that the Diyanet’s budget in 2017 surpassed most governmental institutions, including critical ministries such as the ministries of health and the interior.