The Directorate of Communications, the official communications office of the Turkish presidency, has faced criticism for its “propaganda” activities involving montage videos and online trolls, with their spending in April 2023 leaving many astounded: a staggering 282.9 million TL according to a BirGün daily report.
During the lead-up to the 14 May elections, pro-government propaganda reached its peak, prompting record expenditures from the Directorate of Communications, BirGün reported.
Since the election date announcement on 10 March, Turkey has become embroiled in a disconcerting propaganda process, primarily revolving around the People’s Alliance. Montage videos and disinformation have dominated the propaganda campaign. One such video was played by President Erdoğan during an election rally. It had been edited to create the impression of a collaboration between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the opposition leader and presidential candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, misleading the rally crowd into believing it was a joint propaganda video.
Following the first-round election on 14 May, attention has shifted to the spending of the Directorate of Communications, which has been accused of transforming into a government propaganda tool.
Financial reports from various government institutions for April revealed the significant surge in spending by the Directorate of Communications just before the election.
Under the leadership of Fahrettin Altun, the Directorate of Communications spent more than 12 other public administrations from the central government in April. Notably, the Climate Change Ministry, the Directorate for EU Affairs, the Constitutional Court, and the Court of Accounts spent less than the Directorate of Communications.
For the first quarter of 2023, the Directorate’s total expenditures were distributed as follows:
January: 44 million 331 thousand TL
February: 188 million 810 thousand TL
March: 130 million 968 thousand TL
April: 282 million 963 thousand TL
Having been allocated a budget of 1,631,576,000 TL for 2023, the Directorate of Communications has already consumed 40 per cent of its total budget in the first quarter. This expenditure pattern suggests that the Directorate will exceed its initial allocation by the end of 2023.