The presidency issued a statement in response to recent allegations published in several newspapers asserting that the expenses of the presidency had increased significantly from 2015 to 2016. Some Turkish media outlets claimed on Oct. 3 that the budget of the presidency increased from $472 million to $1.3 billion.
The statement said these types of allegations are false, claiming they are meant to defame the presidency. The statement asserted the allegations are related to perception management.
Saying that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been working with the aim of making Turkey one of the world's strongest countries, the statement said the president paid 22 visits to 20 countries andthat he participated in 265 programs in the Presidential Palace complex in 2016. The statement also said 9,106 citizens, 7,468 village headmen, 1,321 foreign guests and 21,273 people related to domestic issues were hosted by the presidency in 2016.
The statement said: "The Turkish presidency, which is the highest rank in the Republic of Turkey and performs its duties to showcase Turkey, is obligated to carry out activities in a way that is worthy of Turkey's dignity and reputation with an understanding that there won't be restrictions in regard to the expenses related to Turkey's dignity. At the same time, all these activities were carried out at minimum expense and in such a manner that symbolizes Turkey's dignity and reputation."
It went on to say that the presidency's budget has increased as a result of the continuation of the construction of exhibition halls, assembly halls and a library containing 5 billion books, which will be available 24 hours a day for every citizen, and that the construction of the Beştepe National Congress Center is still ongoing. The statement also said: "When the latest budget of the presidency is compared to previous years, it is clear that there isn't an increase in spending except for in investments."
Saying that Erdoğan's salary increase is in accordance with civil officer salary increases, the statement said the allegations, which asserted that Erdoğan's salary was high, do not reflect the truth. "Travel pay is not being given to civil officers working in the Turkish presidency, including President Erdoğan, during their visits abroad," the statement said.The statement concluded that the presidency is carrying out its duties by taking care of 80 million citizens' taxes and management, urging citizens not to believe the claims.