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Vice president leaves question about number of presidential aircraft, vehicles unanswered

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Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yılmaz has declined to answer a question from an opposition lawmaker about the number of aircraft, automobiles and other vehicles allocated for presidential travel, only giving a vague response, the T24 news website reported.

“There are as many as needed for the services,” Yılmaz said, adding that unnecessary use of planes and vehicles is avoided.

The question was raised by Aliye Timisi Ersever, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). In her question Ersever asked about the number of automobiles, aircraft and other vehicles used for presidential travel in 2013, 2022 and the first half of 2023. She also requested the number of planes and other vehicles that were leased by the presidency in 2020, 2021, 2022 and first half of 2023, from which companies and the cost of the leases.

Yılmaz’s answer failed to satisfy the lawmaker, who said it is a constitutional right of the people to know the number of aircraft and other vehicles purchased or leased with taxpayers’ money.

“How can they talk about transparency and accountability? If they had avoided wasting money, then they should reveal how they did it so we can know,” said Ersever.

Erdoğan is frequently criticized due to his large fleet of vehicles and aircraft. People sometimes post videos on social media of the presidential convoy which includes more than a hundred automobiles and other vehicles.

Before the presidential election in May, CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who ran against Erdoğan and was defeated, promised to sell the 16 aircraft in the presidential fleet.

Then-vice President Fuat Oktay announced in January 2021 in reply to a question again posed by a CHP lawmaker that Erdoğan’s office has eight VIP aircraft in its inventory.

Until then, Oktay had left questions unanswered from MPs about Erdoğan’s VIP aircraft and said “the subject in question falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure.”

Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have long been criticized for spending taxpayers’ money on luxury transportation.

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