How much does it cost to hire a mehter band?
Some 11.49 million Turkish Liras were reportedly spent on mehter bands in 2017, according to the Fatih Municipality’s income and expense report prepared to be audited.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) councilors say the expenditure is extravagance, pointing that the municipality’s total debt was 341.925 million liras at the end of 2017. They also remind that the provincial revenue office in Istanbul has placed a lien on the money flow from the Bank of Provinces to the municipality for its tax claims.
I am not sure if anyone would consider the 11.49 million liras expenditure of a district municipality on mehter ceremonies an urgent need. To put it mildly, it is extravagance in my opinion too.
A small-scale research
The buyer is happy and the service provider is happier I guess, although we have no chance to receive comments from the audience yet.
I don’t know if these expenditures are within the scope of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s call to refrain from luxury goods and vanity.
But as a citizen who knows how to taken on a duty from the situation, I dropped everything and made a small-scale research to see if it is possible to reduce the mehter expenditures of the Fatih Municipality.
Mehter bands, which can perform on boat tours or at circumcision parties at a time when a national revival has been triggered across the country, are available to be hired through the websites of event companies.
According to my small-scale market research, done by calling the numbers I found after typing “hire mehter” on a search engine, it costs about 100 liras per band member to hire a mehter band of eight to 10 members. The total cost offers vary from 850 liras to 1,100 liras, and these are all hourly rates. If you wish to have more mehter band members, it costs more.
Then I sat on the table to do the sums. You do not need to be a mathematical prodigy to calculate that the hourly rate of a 10-member mehter band is 1,000 liras.
“We should listen to mehter marching music every single day, we cannot live without it,” some might say.
Then let’s multiply it with the number of days in a year. We find a sum of 365,000 liras.
“One hour a day is not enough, we should listen to mehter marches 24 hours a day,” some may contest.
I do not think so. But, anyway, let’s be generous.
Even if a 10-member mehter band plays tunes 24 hours a day for 365 days, the cost would stand at 8.76 million liras.
According to this calculation, the Fatih Municipality may save 2.73 million liras annually.
“We have a bevy of mehter players,” they might say.
“Then you got a good deal,” I would respond. What else can I do?