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The Search for Turkey’s Golden Thrones

June 9, 2015

Turkey’s current president has been heavily criticized for his lavish lifestyle but does his new palace actually contain golden toilet seats? If so, he may have to resign.

Golden ToiletAfter serving as Turkey’s prime minister for more than 11 years, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan assumed the presidency in 2013. His administration has been dogged by controversies ranging from allegations of corruption to crackdowns on freedom of speech. But Erdoğan has, perhaps, been most criticized for his new and extremely large presidential home. Nicknamed “Ak Saray” (“White Palace”), it’s currently the biggest palace on the planet.

Parks, especially forested ones, are becoming increasingly hard to find in Turkish cities due to massive amounts of development projects. Needless to say, the locals were pretty ticked when they heard that Erdoğan’s palace would take the place of 50 acres of trees on preserved land. Efforts to stop construction failed and the president moved into his new home last autumn.

The lavish $615 million palace, which is nearly 50 times bigger than the White House, contains over 1,150 rooms in addition to guesthouses, a botanical garden, saunas reportedly lined with Italian marble, bunkers capable of withstanding a nuclear attack, and a “situation room” outfitted with lots of satellite and military communication gizmos. But the one thing Ak Saray doesn’t have, according to the president? Even a single golden toilet seat.

In a recent speech, Turkish politician Kemal Kilicdaroglu mocked the palace and claimed that Erdoğan was so pampered that he installed potties with seats made out of gold. Erdoğan fired back in a bizarre interview. “I invite him to please come and take a tour,” Erdoğan said. “I wonder if he will be able to find such a golden toilet seat in any of these washrooms.” The president didn’t stop there. If a golden toilet seat is found in the palace, Erdoğan says he’ll resign from office. If one isn’t, however, Kilicdaroglu must resign.

As crazy as it might sound, the president’s challenge is being taken seriously. Will it actually lead to either politician resigning from office? The latest news is that Kilicdaroglu says he was only joking about the toilet seats and Erdoğan is planning to sue him for $37,000.

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