Turkey’s 'secret fund' spending climbs to new highs
Neşe Karanfil – ANKARAThe amount of spending from the Turkish state's discretionary fund has risen again, amounting to 6.8 billion Turkish Liras over the last 12 years, including the spending of the Prime Ministry, according to data from the Finance Ministry.
Last year, state institutions spent 1.67 billion liras from the fund, while the same figure was 1.2 billion liras in 2013, according to the data. Discretionary spending also exceeded 1 billion liras in 2012.
Last year, 133.6 million liras from the discretionary fund was spent in January and February. This year, this figure rose to 323.9 million liras in the same two-month period.
Meanwhile, the Prime Ministry spent 718.4 billion liras from the discretionary fund in 2014, amounting to 67 percent of the total spending, according to the annual report published on the Prime Ministry’s website earlier this month.
This marked a rise from the 624.1 million liras spent by the Prime Ministry in 2013, including the spending of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and other institutions working under its authority.
The Finance Ministry data, which was released a few days after a controversial new regulation granting a discretionary fund to the Presidency Office passed through parliament on March 27, despite objections from opposition parties.
The discretionary fund for the Prime Ministry is paid with an order signed by the Prime Ministry, the finance minister and the relevant minister for whom the fund is used.
A discretionary fund covers a wide range of expenditures, and can be used for anything from confidential missions to retrieving cultural monuments overseas.
The law forbids the use of the fund for personal or family purposes, and the fund is legally prevented from exceeding the total funds in the overall budget of the same year.