By Manolis Kostidis – Ankara
“In a few months I will leave from the presidential mansion and move to a new building, which is being built as a Prime Ministerial Mansion, but it is where I will reside”. This phrase from Recep Tayyip Erdogan has caused great debate in Turkey, as the Turkish president is leaving the Çankaya Presidential Mansion, which was built in 1931, and moves to a larger building, a “palace” of 40,000 square meters with 1,000 rooms.
The turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah calls it the “turkish White House”.
Construction of Erdogan’s new “palace” started in 2013 and will cost to the turkish budget 250 million euros. It has 1000 offices for the presidential services and rooms for hosting Erdogan’s family and staff.
The new complex, according to accusation by the opposition, is being built on forested land on the “farm of Kemal Ataturk”. A protected area that none dare touch as it was the place where Kemal Ataturk rested. The turkish newspapers reveal that “for the construction of the 10 buildings, each consisting of 5 floors, hundreds of trees are being cut down in the area”. At the same time, a special road is being constructed, consisting of eight lanes and 12 km in length, to connect the “palace of Erdogan” with the center of the Turkish capital.
Operation Center in the Pentagon standards
For its construction laws on the use of land had to be changed, the protection was lifted and the project was launched.
The building has traces of Seljuk architecture.
The “White House” of Erdogan in the second basement will have an operation center. in the occasion of a military threat. This space will be protected from terrorism, chemical and nuclear attacks. At the same time, throughout the building in which the Turkish President will live and work, will be protection from wiretapping, bugs and cyber attacks.
Reportedly, Erdogan’s residence inside the Prime Ministerial complex will consist of three floors.
The current Prime Minister’s building, which has been used by dozens of Prime Ministers, will be converted into a museum.
“The new Turkey needs a new Presidential Palace”
This move by Erdogan is considered to have a symbolic character. In Cankaya Mansion resided all the presidents of Turkey, as well as the founder of the turkish republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who in 1931 had decided to stay in this particular place.
“Erdogan is moving from this building and I think he does well. As president he promised a new Turkey and in a symbolic gesture he takes the first step. He leaves the past behind and looks towards the future”, says the political analyst Rasim Ozan Kütahyalı.
The political analyst of the newspaper Hürriyet, Ertuğrul Özkök, however, has a different view, stating that “not even the Presidents of Russia, who were braking the statues of Lenin left the Kremlin. No American President would ever do something like that… Nobody abandons his symbols. This Mansion symbolizes the history of the founding of the Turkish Republic by Kemal Ataturk… Mr. President, make no mistake that history will remain there. And the president who will come in the future after you will return to this mansion. Let’s see who will history vindicate”.
In the Cankayia mansion, according to Erdogan, will reside the new Prime Minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, and his family.
The new luxurious aircraft
About 2.5 years ago, the turkish government had ordered a new aircraft for the needs of the at the time Turkish Prime Minister and current President Erdogan. It seems that he had planned everything in advance.
The Airbus 330 Presidental landed in Turkey, a few days after Erdogan’s accession to the presidency.
The cost of the acquisition, in accordance with the turkish press, reaches $200 million. In the Airbus, there are meeting rooms, special security systems, kitchens etc.. The Turkish press characterizes as “Turkish Air Force One.” Already, the Turkish president has used it for his first trip abroad to the turkish-occupied part of Cyprus and his visit to Azerbaijan. The name of the aircraft is «TUR».
Up to now Erdogan traveled with an Airbus 319, which will now be used by Davutoglu.
“The new Turkey” of Erdogan, however, has already cost the Turkish taxpayers 450 million euros, with the opposition accusing the president, for spending too much money and that “he behaves like a sultan”.