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The political messages of Turkey’s 2019 budget bill

Ankara’s 2019 budget bill has fueled opposition fears that the country’s rulers are bent on building an authoritarian regime that leans on Sunni Islam.
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Ankara’s draft budget for 2019 — the first since Turkey’s transition to a new governance system that concentrates power in the hands of the president — has reinforced opposition concerns that the country’s rulers are building an authoritarian regime with a heavy Islamist flavor. The lavish funds allocated to the presidential office and the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) are at the core of the criticism directed at the bill, which passed through parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission last week and is expected to reach the general assembly for a final vote in December.

The executive presidency system -- tailor-made for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – was narrowly approved in a controversial referendum last year and took effect after the presidential polls in June, replacing the country’s long-standing parliamentary regime.

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