Erdoğan’s office denies claims over alleged cost of iftar dinner
DHA PhotoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s press office has categorically denied claims about the extravagant cost of an iftar dinner where the head of the state hosted former and incumbent officials from Turkey’s Directorate General of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), suggesting that such claims were aspects of “black propaganda.”
“The figures which were alleged by a professional organization in an effort to draw attention to the Presidency Palace in Beştepe with lies are entirely untrue,” the office of president’s chief press adviser said in a written statement released late June 23.
The statement came in response to remarks by Tezcan Karakuş Candan, the head of the Ankara branch of the Chamber of Architects, who suggested that the cost of the table on which the officials and Erdoğan enjoyed their iftar was equal to the alms to be doled out at the end of Ramadan to 87,653 people.
Candan claimed on June 23 that the total of cost of the table and dinnerware was 240,00 Turkish Liras ($89,500), while its 29 seats cost 435,000 liras ($162,000).
“The palace has become a symbol of luxury and gaudiness, and the cost of its fast-breaking meal is unacceptable to the conscience,” Candan said in remarks published June 23, referring to the dinner hosted on June 22.
Erdoğan's advisor Mustafa Varank, however, strongly denied Candan's claim and said in a tweet on June 23 that the table only cost 4,600 liras ($1,700).
“Using the fast-breaking meal, which was hosted using the Presidency’s own resources, own personnel and own kitchen, as a material for black propaganda with lies is nothing more than a perception operation with the aim of misleading public opinion,” the president’s press office said, while also arguing that reporting “insults under the pretext of reports didn’t comply with any ethical rules.”