At a time when people are finding it harder to make ends meet due to the rising cost of living in Turkey, the presidency is planning to add 29 more vehicles to its 415-vehicle fleet, according to a draft budget submitted to parliament for approval, the T24 news website reported on Wednesday.
In its proposed budget, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has allocated funds for the procurement of 2,962 new vehicles for various public institutions, including 29 for the presidency, for 2022.
The total number of vehicles used by public institutions, which are funded from the general budget, is 100,846, 346 of which are passenger cars equipped with special security systems.
According to the proposed budget, the maximum price for a passenger car will be TL 195,700 ($21,043) while no such limit is specified for cars with special security systems.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan frequently attracts criticism due to large convoys that accompany him during his daily routine. Many accuse him of excessive use of public resources while the people are suffering financial problems caused by rising inflation and depreciation of the Turkish lira.
Turkey’s annual inflation rose to 19.58 percent in September, its highest in two-and-a-half years, and month-on-month consumer prices rose 1.25 percent, the Turkish Statistical Institute said earlier this month.
The net minimum wage announced for 2021 in Turkey is TL 2,826 ($377), which is the lowest figure in US dollars for a monthly net minimum wage in the last 11 years. The Turkish lira has lost about 20 percent of its value against the dollar this year.
Various reports state that poverty in Turkey has both expanded and deepened during the pandemic, which hit at a time when the country was already in dire financial straits amid economic turmoil ongoing since 2018.
Erdoğan not only has a huge fleet of vehicles at his presidency, but also takes his special security cars to his visits abroad.
He took two armored Mercedes S600 Guards, each with a price tag of $4.6 million, with him when he flew to the US to attend a United Nations meeting in September, paying $270,000 for their transportation.
This was not the first time Erdoğan used his official cars abroad. Actually, he has made it a habit to use his own official car on all of his foreign visits since 2017. The two armored Mercedes had been transported to Chile, Peru and Ecuador.