Turkey's brand new presidential palace to be protected by commandos
Bülent Sarıoğlu ANKARA
Although officials and pro-government pundits argue that the structure is necessary to display Turkey’s strength and prestige across the world, the attention of foreign observers has instead been drawn to the new palace’s whiff of prodigality.Turkey’s new $615 million, 1,000-room presidential palace is no trifle, so it is perhaps natural for its security to be provided by armed guards who certainly cannot be trifled with.
The protection of the new precinct of the building, also known as “Ak Saray” (White Palace), will be assigned to a special commando unit that will be integrated with the presidential guards regiment following a new restructuration of the palace’s security, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz has stated.
Commandos who receive special training for combat missions in the most difficult conditions will be tasked with guarding the presidential palace 24 hours a day. A fast intervention force will also be set up for any potential attack.
The imposing palace commissioned by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has drawn criticism for its monumental cost for the Turkish taxpayer. Although officials and pro-government pundits argue that the structure is necessary to display Turkey’s strength and prestige across the world, the attention of foreign observers has instead been drawn to the new palace’s whiff of prodigality.
After a change of legislation initiated by the previous president, Abdullah Gül, the security of the old Çankaya Palace in Ankara was ensured by the police. Indeed, police were in action to disperse student protests near the new presidential palace on Nov. 29, but special commandos will soon replace ordinary police officers, possibly making the area one of the safest precincts in the whole country.
Meanwhile, the traditional presidential guard will remain at the Çankaya presidential palace, whose new function has yet to be decided. These guards will only be brought to the Ak Saray for special ceremonies, Defense Minister Yılmaz also said.