Mehmet Özhaseki, the Ankara mayoral candidate for the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), claimed on Thursday that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hates to waste taxpayers’ money and is extremely careful about every penny he spends.
Speaking at an election event in Ankara, Özhaseki’s remarks came amid criticism of the president for having record-breaking discretionary funds at his disposal unlike previous presidents, living in a lavish palace of more than 1,000 rooms and building additional offices in several locations across Turkey.
Özhaseki said that sometimes Erdoğan suggests not hiring a place for an event and recommends an already existing venue. He said the president hates wasting money.
“We have a president who watches every kuruş [penny] he spends,” Özhaseki went on to say, despite the fact that the president is currently building a new summer residence on Turkey’s pristine Okluk Bay in Marmaris, southwestern Turkey.
Özhaseki further argued that Erdoğan’s palace is no different than anyone else’s home, featuring the same style of hardwood floors, for instance. The lavish palace in Ankara is decorated with high-end imported items from around the world.
He also claimed that Erdoğan has the most modest office among all the presidential offices he has seen around the world.
In November a report by Turkey’s Court of Accounts showed that more than TL 1.8 million (around $300,000) was spent daily in 2017 for the expenses of Erdoğan’s presidential palace in Ankara’s Beştepe neighborhood.
When Erdoğan moved into the palace in November 2014, more than TL 1.7 billion had been spent on it, twice the original estimate.