Turkey's Erdogan challenges opposition to find his golden toilet seat

Erdogan answers critiques of his allegedly lavish lifestyle.

By REUTERS
June 1, 2015 12:18
1 minute read.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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ISTANBUL - Irritated by accusations of lavishness, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to resign if the leader of the main opposition can find a single golden toilet seat in his vast new palace.

Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People's Party (CHP) has repeatedly criticized Erdogan's profligacy in campaign speeches ahead of a June 7 parliamentary election.

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"Gentlemen in Ankara, palaces have been built for you, planes bought, Mercedes cars purchased ... golden seats have been bought, that's how you use the toilet," Kilicdaroglu said at a rally in the Aegean city of Izmir on Saturday.

Erdogan, who moved into the controversial new 1,000-room palace complex after winning a presidential election last August, challenged Kilicdaroglu to prove his assertion.

"I invite him to please come and take a tour ... I wonder if he will be able to find such a golden toilet seat in any of these washrooms," Erdogan said in an interview with state broadcaster TRT late on Sunday.

"If he finds it, I will resign from the presidency."

Brightly illuminated at night and sitting on a hilltop, the complex - nicknamed Ak Saray or the White Palace - dominates the skyline on the western edge of the Turkish capital.

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Previous heads of state used a more modest old palace, but Erdogan's move came as he launched what he has dubbed a "New Turkey", in which he aspires to amend the constitution and create a full executive presidential system.

Erdogan wants the ruling AK Party, which he founded more than a decade ago, to win a strong enough majority on June 7 to change the constitution unopposed, but opinion polls suggest it will struggle to do so.

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