Representation and entertainment costs see 70 percent rise between Jan and May

A total of TL 51.7 million has been spent from the state budget for representation and entertainment costs in the first five months of 2015, which shows a 70 percent increase from the amount spent in the same period last year, according to a Cumhuriyet columnist.
In her column on Wednesday, andciidem Toker examined the representation and entertainment expenses made by the state between January and May.
The representation and entertainment costs include a wide range of expenses made by state officials for public relations. Meals and gifts offered to foreign guests, transportation costs, the cost of representational events hosted by Turkish diplomats abroad, national day ceremonies, and concert and accommodation expenses of singers or groups invited to perform in Turkey from abroad are also registered to representation and entertainment expenses. Wreaths sent to funerals or celebrations and even tips given by state officials go under this heading.
According to Tokerand’s column, in which she focused on official state budget announcements, the amount of money spent for representation and entertainment in the first five months of 2014 was TL 30.5 million. There has been a 70 percent increase, which translates into TL 21 million.
There has been an increase in the amount of expenses made for the purchase of band instruments. While TL 219,000 was spent on the purchase of band instruments between January and May of last year, this figure rose to TL 346,000 in the first five months of this year.
When examined month by month, it is seen that there has been a rapid increase in the representation and entertainment expenses every month in 2015. It was TL 2.1 million in January, TL 7.4 million in February, TL 9.3 million in March, TL 14 million in April and TL 18.2 million in May.
The increase in the expenses made in May is twice the amount of representation and entertainment expenses made last May when it was TL 9.6 million.
In May 2014, the spending was made on flowers, gifts and meals for guests, while in May, the TL 18.2 million was spent on and”representation seen necessary by the state officials: gifts, ceremony expenditures, organization of congresses, conferences and seminars.and”
Toker said in May that Turkey saw the culmination of an election campaign held by political parties in Turkey for the June 7 general election.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who joined the AK Partyand’s election campaign although he is required by law to be impartial as president, attracted much criticism for using state resources for the ruling partyand’s election campaign.
The AK Party and Erdogan, who had a presidential palace built for himself that is known for its lavishness and more than 1.000 rooms, also receive criticism for spending stateand’s money on extravagance.
and”Even if we assume there has been no waste of money and abuse in the 70 percent increase taking place in the representation and entertainment expenses, it could be said that this picture is not promising from the point of inflation,and” Toker wrote.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman