Turkish gov't cuts funding for municipalities amid pandemic

Turkish municipalities will see further cuts to budgetary funding allocated for debt restructuring and public debts, according to a governmental decree published in the Official Gazette.

Municipalities which had already received a 40 percent cut in funding will be subject to another 10 percent, while those with cuts that totalled 25 percent will see another 25 percent cut, according to the decree published on Thursday.

The cuts arrive amid ongoing municipal aid programmes for families in need to stave off the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

A lawmaker with Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) sees the move as part of an effort by the government to “punish municipalities,’’ which have won the appreciation of citizens through their aid drives.

“The ruling power should be thanking us for our services, but it is instead seeking ways to decrease municipal income,’’ Birgün newspaper cited CHP deputy chairman Seyit Torun as saying.

Torun said that CHP municipalities had been providing aid, including cash assistance, as well as help with rent and bill payment for citizens, extending its resources as far as it could, accusing the government of partisanship in its policies.

“Such policies were unable to deter our municipalities until now,’’ Torun said, “no matter what they do, we will continue to be on the side of citizens.’’

Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Turkey’s CHP municipalities have accused the government of blocking municipal aid drives.