Erdoğan invites opposition leader to find 'golden toilet seat' in palace
AFP PhotoThe heated rhetoric of Turkish politics has – if ever so briefly – left behind the squares and the airwaves to invade the bathroom, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan calling on the leader of the main opposition party to visit his presidential palace to see whether there is any golden toilet seat.
“I’m talking very openly and I’m saying this here for the first time. If the leader of the main opposition is honest, then I will give an instruction to my secretary-general this evening. Let him come and walk around the Presidential Külliye,” Erdoğan said, addressing opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu during an interview on public broadcaster TRT late on May 31.
Erdoğan prefers his gargantuan presidential palace to be called the “Presidential Külliye,” an Ottoman architectural concept that designates a complex with a central mosque and a series of ancillary buildings, such as a hospital, library and public fountain, surrounding it.
“Will he find such a golden toilet seat in any lavatory-basin or toilet? Is he ready to leave office if he cannot find such a thing? If he finds one, I will leave the presidential office,” Erdoğan said.
The controversy extended to June 1, as Erdoğan reiterated his challenge to Kılıçdaroğlu during an address delivered to the public in the eastern Anatolian province of Iğdır, calling on the CHP head to resign if he cannot find a golden toilet seat in the palace. He noted his secretary-general had already extended a written invitation to Kılıçdaroğlu earlier in the day to visit the palace.
Presidency Secretary-General Fahri Kasırga sent the invitation to the CHP leader’s office, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
“In line with instructions by Mr. President, we invite him [Kılıçdaroğlu] to the presidential palace in order to make examinations about his own claims,” Kasırga was quoted as saying in the letter, after recalling Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks about the presence of golden toilet seats in the palace.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s swift response to the invitation came from the eastern Anatolian province of Kars later in the day. Speaking with a group of journalists covering his election rally, he said he will not go to the palace.
“I don’t have any business at palaces. Let alone golden toilet seats, he may also make solid gold closets. I know Erdoğan’s eagerness for gold, dollars, euros and defrauding,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. “[Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinç] may go and inspect wastefulness and toilets at the illegal palace,” he added.
Kılıçdaroğlu raised the issue earlier in the day during an election rally held in Ankara, when he pledged welfare to people if he came to power in the June 7 elections.