A lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has said expensive horses were purchased from the Netherlands for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, questioning the cost of the purchase at a time when many Turks find it hard to make ends meet, the Gazete Duvar news website reported.
In a parliamentary question posed to Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay, CHP lawmaker Özgür Özel said he learned that a large number of horses were recently purchased from the Netherlands for the Presidential Mounted Ceremonial Association, which takes part in the official ceremonial parades, for TL 1.4 million ($73,841) each.
Noting that the association already has 130 horses, Özel said, “It’s impossible to understand how these horses could have been bought out of necessity when Turkey is experiencing an economic crisis, inflation is out of control and the unemployment rate remains high.”
Özel then asked Oktay when the horses were purchased, how many there were and for how much and whether or not the full price had been paid.
The lawmaker finally asked Oktay whether he considered the purchase of horses a “waste” in such a problematic period for Turkey’s economy.
The country has been battling runaway inflation and relying on rich allies for funding to keep its economy afloat. The central bank’s vanishing reserves have been replenished by assistance from Russia and oil-rich Gulf states, which has helped Turkey spend tens of billions of dollars propping up the lira in the past few years.
But economists believe that money is only sufficient to keep Turkey’s finances in order — and the troubled lira from collapsing — until the May elections.