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Erdoğan slammed for flying to Qatar to attend World Cup event amid Turkey’s economic woes

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Opposition politicians have criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for traveling to Qatar’s capital of Doha by private plane to attend the FIFA World Cup showpiece fixture and closing ceremony while Turkey is battling one of its worst economic crises in years.

Erdoğan on Sunday attended the event at the invitation of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and watched the epic final match between France and Argentina alongside him, French President Emmanuel Macron and FIFA President Gianni Infantino, local media reports said.

The development came as Argentine President Alberto Fernandez watched the World Cup final match between his national team and France from home and not in person from Qatar in order to avoid luxury spending due to the deep economic slump in his country, according to Turkish media reports.

“Like millions of my compatriots, I will enjoy the final of the World Cup at home,” he said on Twitter earlier on Sunday.

Argentina beat France in a penalty shoot-out after the match ended tied 3-3 and became the FIFA World Cup Champion for 2022.

“[Erdoğan] went to Qatar by private plane to watch the match. Fernandez, the president of Argentina, which won the cup and the economy of which is similar to ours, didn’t … to save money. … I have no comments to make,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Bülent Kuşoğlu said in a tweet.

Cemal Enginyurt, a deputy chair for the opposition Democrat Party (DP), also criticized the president’s move, saying, “There is hunger in the country, poverty … is increased, young people are unemployed, pensioners are overwhelmed [by financial difficulties]. But who cares?”

Ümit Özdağ, leader of the far-right and anti-refugee Victory Party (ZP), also said Erdoğan’s move shows that the president and his government continue to live in luxury while the country is in the middle of a deep economic crisis and the citizens are struggling with hunger.

Turkey’s economy is suffering its biggest economic crisis in decades ahead of one of the toughest elections of Erdoğan’s rule, which is slated for June of next year.

Official data showed earlier this month Turkey’s inflation standing at 84.39 percent in November, while a study by a group of independent academics, the ENAG group, showed the annual rate of consumer price increases reaching 170.70 percent in November.

The lira tumbled 44 percent against the dollar last year and has weakened a further 29 percent this year. However, it has held steady since early October.

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