Turkey’s president may have come from a humble background but there’s nothing humble about him or his lifestyle now.
He gifts a Mercedes S500 sedan to the cleric he favors — Mehmet Görmez, the head of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) — purchased with state funds of course.
His children allegedly "swim in luxury" — a luxury they can hardly justify with their father’s 50,000 euro ($55,025) annual salary as head of state.
They live in luxurious villas and have their own not-so-transparent businesses (cosmetics, instant foods, shipping industry and jewelry).
One of Erdogan’s sons, Ahmet, is worth some $80 million. His younger son, Bilal, often appears in media headlines “in connection with shady and criminal deals.” He was recently tried in Italy over claims that his estate may be connected to a massive political corruption scandal involving Turkey’s ruling AKP party.
His wife, Emine, in the meanwhile, drinks special white tea that costs more than $1,900 a kilo in gold leaf glasses worth $300 each.
She once allegedly had an entire Brussels shopping mall closed down in order to indulge in a a designer shopping spree.
Then there is the Ak Saray Palace (aka the White Palace) in Ankara.
Daily Mail exposes Erdogan's £43million a year lavish lifestyle with shopaholic wife https://t.co/c79auXtuPX— Luckie Cruz (@luckie408) July 19, 2016
According to Vice, “Ak Saray became the largest presidential residence in the world, surpassing the roost belonging to the sultan of Brunei, which had held the title since 1984.”
The 1,150-room palace which was built in defiance of a court order on protected land at the cost of $615 million.
The palace was built in an area of 300,000 square meters in an environmentally protected nature preserve called the Ataturk Forest Farm.
"The so-called sultan has built this for himself in a country where three million people are without work. You cut down hundreds of trees to build yourself this palace," said Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the Republican People's Party.
The Swarovski crystal laden chandeliers at the Ak Saray are worth $35 million.
The amount could light the homes of 6 million people, estimates the Turkish Union of Engineers and Architects’ Chambers.
The union calculates the monthly costs of Erdogan’s lavish palace is around TL 600,000 ($198,000), while heating gas and lighting expenses total some TL 1.6 million ($528,000) and TL 1.2 million ($396,000), respectively.
The cost of cleaning the presidential palace is around TL 8 million ($2.64 million).
And oh, he also owns a $185 million presidential jet.
"The authorities are taking, in the most cruel way, billions from Turkish taxpayers and spending them on Mercedes, jets and presidential palaces," says Republican People's Party (CHP) and its leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu.
The criticism is quite justified as a quarter of her country live in extreme poverty and almost two million live on less than $4 a day.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, blames the negative publicity on Jews.
The New York Times in particular is on the president’s black list. He claims the Times is out to get Turkey ever since it was the Ottoman Empire.
“Now, they are spitting out the same hatred on me,” Erdogan railed. “It’s clear who their patrons are. There is Jewish capital behind it, unfortunately.”
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is Turkey’s first elected president who has been at the forefront of Turkish politics for more than a decade- a first since the father of modern Turkey Kamal Ataturk.