Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Monday that his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, said when he saw the presidential palace in Ankara that it was a sign of a great state and jokingly asked for a room in it.
Speaking to NTV’s Oğuz Haksever during a live broadcast from the presidential palace on Monday evening, his third anniversary as president, Erdoğan said Putin was very much impressed by the palace and said it was a symbol of Turkey being a great state.
“He jokingly said, ‘Would give me a room here?’ When he saw the [presidential] complex, he said, ‘This work is the sign of a great state.’ I was showing him the [presidential] complex, which is the sign of a great state. You know the Kremlin. It is a sign of a great state. You would get lost inside of it. It is that kind of a [huge] place. We built the [Turkish presidential] complex, but the person leading the main opposition couldn’t accept it,” he said.
The presidential complex in Ankara’s Beştepe neighborhood was at the center of criticism when it was constructed due to its large budget, expensive interiors, more than a thousand rooms and luxurious design as well as the felling of trees in its neighborhood.
When Erdoğan moved into the palace in November 2014, more than TL 1.7 billion had been spent on it, twice the original estimate.
“The so-called sultan has built this for himself in a country where 3 million people are without work,” said Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).