Turkey’s top religious body receives 34 pct boost to 2019 budget amid cuts to ministries

Turkey’s state body regulating the role of Islam in the country is set to receive an additional $ 850 million (5 billion liras) boosting its budget from $1.3 to $2.1 billion for 2019, independent news site T24 reported.

The increased budget for the country’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) arrives as the country’s Science, Industry and Technology Ministry’s budget will be axed by 56 percent for the upcoming year, the site said.

Turkey’s ministries on average received a budget boost of 16 percent for 2019, while the Religious Affairs budget will more than double, gaining 34.36 percent more funding, according to an official report.

According to 2019 budget data, T24 said, the directorate will see the greatest rise in its spending on staffing expenditures with directorate staff receiving an annual salary increase of 36.5 percent as compared to the overall 17 percent salary increase set aside in the budget for the upcoming year.

The budget of Turkey’s state-run religious body is slated to become fives times that of the National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) , and more than five times that of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, which will be hit with a 14.3 percent cut for 2019, T24 said.

The total revenue of the directorate, which employs all of Turkey’s imams and has a staff of 117,000 people, last year was 514 million lira ($84 million).

The directorate’s budget has grown more than fourfold since 2006.