Mustafa Akıncı, former president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), has criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan due to his plans to have a new presidential complex and parliament building built in northern Cyprus.
Erdoğan’s remarks came during a Monday speech to KKTC lawmakers in northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey. Erdoğan went to the island to take part in ceremonies marking the 47th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion that divided the Mediterranean island.
In his speech Erdoğan likened the KKTC’s presidential building to a “British shanty house,” adding that the plans for the KKTC presidential complex have been completed, that construction will start soon and that the presidential complex will include a new parliament building.
“I say we should get rid of these [buildings] as soon as possible. Let’s have a magnificent parliament building with all of it, too,” Erdoğan said.
Akıncı reacted to Erdoğan’s remarks in a statement on Facebook, saying the prestige of a country is not measured by the magnificence of its government buildings.
“The prestige of a country is measured by its respect for democracy, freedoms, human rights, law, justice and the welfare of its people,” said Akıncı.
Erdoğan is famous for his love of lavish presidential facilities. His presidential complex in Ankara 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.
Over TL 1.7 billion ($244 million at the time) had been spent on the palace, twice the original estimate, when Erdoğan moved into the palace in November 2014.
Earlier this month, photos emerged showing his summer home in a resort town.
Şefik Birkiye, the architect who designed Erdoğan’s mansion in Marmaris, detailed the interior and exterior of the complex, nearly three years after its completion. The home reportedly cost 640 million lira ($73 million) at a time of increased poverty among Turks.