Ankara, Oct 6 () - A deputy from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has called on Turkey’s top cleric to resign unless the latter justifies a shortage of 23 million Turkish Liras in the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) budget, daily Hürriyet has reported.
At a press conference in the Turkish parliament in Ankara, CHP Istanbul deputy Eren Erdem called on Diyanet head Mehmet Görmez to resign if he cannot account for the shortage, which was spotted by the Court of Accounts but was described by the Diyanet as a “mistake.”
“The head of the Diyanet should immediately resign if he cannot account for this” Erdem said on Oct. 5.
“The Diyanet has become a reflection of a paralyzed state order. Is 23 million liras a small amount? Has the lack of that money even caused a slight twinge of conscience in the Diyanet head” he added.
The CHP deputy said such a shortage was “thought-provoking” in a body that currently receives the highest budget of all state departments.
Görmez was also the subject of criticism in the first half of 2015, when the purchase of a Mercedes S500 sedan for him, in addition to 14 Toyota cars for Diyanet officials and 16 minibuses for general use, drew a harsh public reaction.
Görmez vowed to return the official car, purchased for 1 million liras, amid the storm of controversy, but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refused to accept the return and said the presidency would deliver a new official car to Görmez.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli called on Görmez at the time to resign over his initial acceptance of the Mercedes as an official car.
Bahçeli told daily Posta back in May that Görmez was damaging his own office due to the polemic over the luxury vehicle.