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LOCAL >New palace ready in Istanbul after controversial Ak Saray

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The historic Vahdettin mansion, home to the last Ottoman Sultan Vahideddin (also known as Mehmed VI), has been renovated after four months of rapid work. DHA Photo

The historic Vahdettin mansion, home to the last Ottoman Sultan Vahideddin (also known as Mehmed VI), has been renovated after four months of rapid work. DHA Photo

As the cost of Turkey’s new presidential palace, unofficially known as the “Ak Saray” continues to stir controversy due to its astronomical cost in tandem with its gargantuan size, restoration work on an old palace that is reportedly set to become the president’s office in Istanbul has ended.

The historic Vahdettin mansion, home to the last Ottoman Sultan Vahideddin (also known as Mehmed VI), has been renovated after four months of rapid work.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reportedly selected the mansion as his possible new office in Istanbul, but there has been no official confirmation yet for the future use of the building.

The mansion, located in the quiet Asian Istanbul neighborhood of Çengelköy and facing the Bosphorus, is not for from Erdoğan’s personal home in the city.

Erdoğan visited the mansion and checked on the restoration works in July, lending weight to suggestions that the compound could become his Istanbul office.

The restoration work also created controversy over the possible destruction of nearby buildings.

A large parking lot and a helicopter landing area were built for the compound, which is being guarded around the clock by tight police surveillance.

The government is still under fire due to the cost of the presidential palace in Ankara, which currently stands at 1.37 billion liras ($615 million), according to Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek. The huge complex, worthy of entering Erdoğan’s trademark “crazy projects” such as the third Istanbul bridge or the Istanbul Canal, was also mocked in a number of foreign media outlets appalled by its incommensurable dimensions.

November/07/2014

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