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Turkey’s intel, statistics agencies failed to submit 2021 financial reports to audit court

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Reports recently released by the Turkish Court of Accounts included no information on the 2021 expenditures of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) because of their failure to report their financial activities to the court, according to the Sözcü daily.

The audit reports lacked information on the expenditures of MİT and TurkStat in 2021 since neither institution provided the country’s top public financial auditor, responsible for auditing the accounts of public agencies and political parties, with their activity reports or financial statements for the past year.

According to Sözcü, the Turkish Court of Accounts said on the fifth page of its “Activity General Evaluation Report 2021” that they found that “17 of the public administrations evaluated by the Court of Accounts did not publish their activity reports,” including two general budget administrations, two special budget administrations and 13 municipalities.

Those referred to in the audit report as the two general budget administrations that didn’t publish their activity reports are MİT and TurkStat. Both agencies are at the center of criticism these days for acting in line with the interests of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

MİT is accused of acting as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “long arm” abroad carrying a manhunt against political dissidents and bringing them back to Turkey in special operations, while TurkStat attracts criticism for allegedly manipulating inflation and unemployment figures to paint a better picture about the Turkish economy.

In 2020, financial activity reports showed that MİT had exceeded its budget allocated by the presidency.

The Sözcü daily reported in September, citing audits by the Turkish Court of Accounts, that the personnel costs of MİT had increased by 72 percent since a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, mainly due to funds used to bring suspected Gülen movement members back to Turkey from abroad.

MİT spent TL 768.8 million ($56.7 million) on personnel costs in 2016, while the figure increased to TL 1.3 billion ($95.9 million) in 2020, mainly due to the employment of communications engineers, language specialists, intelligence agents and local elements to carry out operations to bring back suspected Gülen movement members from overseas, Sözcü said.

The Gülen movement is a faith-based group that focuses on science education, volunteerism, community involvement, social work and interfaith and intercultural dialogue. The movement is inspired by the teachings of Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the coup attempt in 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Turkey’s secret service has abducted scores of the country’s citizens abroad over the past five and a half years, with the kidnappings and renditions being mostly of suspected supporters of Gülen.

Some victims of enforced disappearance in Turkey have spoken out in court after they were found in police custody, recounting the systematic and severe torture they were subjected to during their interrogation by government operatives, who, victims said, waited until their wounds had healed to hand them over to the police.

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