The Turkish people are suffering from a severe economic crisis that has intensified with the outbreak of the Corona epidemic. The Turkish president is building luxurious mansions with taxpayer money, with the aim of reviving the Ottoman past.
Turkey suffers from a sharp decline in the value of its currency and a serious economic crisis for nearly two years. Today, the price of the Turkish lira continues to decline, and the unemployment rate has been on the rise for months, especially among the youth.
Due to the Corona crisis, matters became more complicated, as the epidemic inflicted great losses on the tourism sector, which is one of the most vital sectors in Turkey. Therefore, Turkish citizens must either “tighten their belts” in the sense of austerity or, as young people do, emigrate to escape the lack of opportunities in their country. At the same time, in light of the current crisis, Turkish President Erdogan does not offer any solutions to the crisis. Instead, he is building luxurious palaces.
Despite criticism from the opposition, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is proceeding with the construction of his projects, which are estimated to cost millions of dollars, including a luxurious mansion he built directly on the banks of Lake Van.
Architecturally, this building resembles the palace of the Anatolian Seljuk Sultan Alaeddin Kikbad I. As for the site of its construction, it is according to the Turkish government announced, as it was built exactly on the place where the Seljuk Sultan Alp Arslan pitched his tent during his campaign against the Byzantines in which he defeated them.
Turkish media reports stated that the budget of this palace is estimated at 14.4 million euros, while the budget announced before the start of the project did not exceed 3.4 million euros. The contractor in charge of construction is also believed to be a longtime study colleague of President Erdoan.
For its part, the opposition did not stop its attempts to stop the construction plans. In July of 2019, the construction of this palace was effectively stopped by the Turkish Constitutional Court due to obstructing people access to the beach and the area around the lake.
However, the Erdoan government worked to change the law so that the ban imposed by the Supreme Court would eventually be nullified. Then, with a tone of defiance, President Erdoan responded to critics of the building plans, saying, “You can turn yourself upside down however you like, this palace will be built.”
Gulizar Paiser Karaca, a member of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the Turkish Parliament, criticized the president’s actions, saying: “Because of the greed of one man, the shores of Lake Van are sacrificed. At a time when millions of our citizens suffer from the economic crisis, the man gives himself one palace after another.”
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) responded to these statements by the head of the parliamentary bloc, Jahid Ozcan, who said: “How do you see the palace? We see the building as a home for the whole nation.”
Summer stay with 300 rooms!
Besides staying on Lake Van, Erdoan owns another impressive summer mansion built in Ulughol Bay near the Mediterranean city of Marmaris. According to the Turkish press, the construction project was very expensive and environmentally unfriendly. And the cost of building this luxurious residence of 300 rooms, more than 37 million euros so far. 50,000 trees have been uprooted to make way for Erdogan’s summer residence.
In total, this is the third palace the Turkish president has built with tax money. Erdogan moved to his luxurious official residence in Ankara in 2014. Because of the exorbitant construction costs that amounted to half a billion euros, and because he was also built in the middle of a nature reserve, there was great resistance, but it remained in vain.
Palaces to erase the republican legacy
Erdogan’s palaces remain a thorn in the eyes of the opposition. Not only because it overthrows the state treasury, but because Erdogan and through it seeks to revive and glorify the Ottoman heritage in the hearts of the Turks, at the expense of the modern Ataturkian legacy.
The three Erdogan palaces, along with other projects, are an architectural and political tribute to the Seljuk Ottoman past. The architectural style followed is, of course, completely different from the typical monumental buildings that were built in the period after the establishment of the Turkish state in 1923.
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