Inside the £500million palace of Turkey's president plus his wife's extravagant shopping sprees
This report found on Daily Mail claims that Turkey's president, Tayyip Erdogan, spent £500million on a lavish presidential palace. According to the online news outlet, more than £26million was spent on doors for the opulent edifice while carpets cost over £7million.
They also claim his wife, Emine goes on extravagant shopping sprees and once shut down a shopping mall in Brussels in order to shop for designer bags. On another occasion, she blew £37000 on antique shopping while accompanying her husband on an official trip to Poland. Read the full report after the cut.
She claims to live a 'humble and modest' life with strict Muslim values, whiling away the hours in palace kitchen fermenting apples and turning them into vinegar.
But while her tyrant husband President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has amassed a £139million fortune with at least three palaces across Turkey, his 'shopaholic' wife Emine likes nothing more than spending money.
Emine Erdogan's jet-set lifestyle is a whirlwind of one shopping trip after another where her particular passions are designer clothes and expensive antiques.
As a quarter of her country live in extreme poverty and almost two million live on just £3 a day, the president's wife boasts she drinks specialist white tea at £1,500 a kilo… and drinks it from gold leaf glasses worth £250 each.
She once closed down a shopping mall in Brussels to go on a designer shopping spree and while accompanying her husband on an official visit to Warsaw in Poland blew through more than £37,000 while browsing an antiques bazaar.
Any items she found would no doubt be needed for the huge palace Erdogan has constructed in the foothills outside the Turkish capital Ankara.
Covering an area of 1.6sq miles the mega palace has cost more than £500m to build with no expense spared on its fixture and fittings.
From silk wallpaper costing as much as £2,000 a roll to £36,000 for each pair of double doors that are needed for the hundreds of rooms.
One estimate has the bill for more than 400 extra large double doors that measure 3.2m high by 2m wide at over £5m.
Add in the 450 single doors needed and the final bill for doors has been put at over £26m.
In keeping with the no expense spared build even carpeting for the 366,000 sq ft palace is more than £7m.
Critics of the monstrous building have said it is so extravagant that it would have made Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, known for his love of gold and jewel encrusted fittings, blush.
Others have derided the architecture of the palace saying it looks like more like a Chinese railway station than anything from the former Ottoman empire.
The building, known as the White Palace, cost more than twice the original estimate but Erdogan has dismissed criticism by saying it boosts Turkey's profile in the world.
When asked why he wanted a new Palace he said cockroaches in his old office when he was Prime Minister meant it was uninhabitable.
When construction began he claimed he would be using all 'natural' materials from Turkey.
But opponents who have seen the architectural plans say the roof comes from Germany while green marble used in guest rooms was purchased from India.
Other materials used in the construction come from the UK, France and Italy.
Even the trees planted in the extensive grounds were from Italy and Holland.
Erdogan sees the Palace as reward for leading the country to prosperity - but others say it shows his increasing authoritarianism.
During the failed coup F-16 jets bombed the Palace, but the extent of any damage is not yet known.
As well as being the home for Erdogan, the Palace is also a command and control centre.
Erdogan's extravagance appears to extend to his wife Emine who while running the Presidential Palace professes to lead a frugal life.
She ended up being ridiculed after a newspaper that supports her husband's AKP party attempted to portray the 60-year-old as someone who watches every penny of the household budget.
It also boasted of how they use their olive and date pits to make sauces and suggested that the population follow Emine's lead in drinking white tea from the Rize region of Turkey.
While white tea is readily available what the article failed to mention is the tea Emine has served at the Palace costs up to £1,500 for a kilo.
The article led to Emine and her husband being branded hypocrites on social media.
Emine, a mother of four, is known for her love of designer handbags and clothes.
During a visit last October to Brussels she had her bodyguards seal off the entrance to a shopping mall while she visited the Longchamps store where she spent 1500 Euros.
Other shoppers were prevented from entering the mall in Louise Avenue while she walked round the store, which sells expensive handbags and luggage.
Her husband was in town to join other EU leaders searching for a solution to the refugee crisis.
Earlier this year Emine said Ottoman era harems were 'inspirational' educational establishments.
The comment provoked a backlash but not as much as the following day when her husband caused outrage in a speech to mark International Women's Day, when he said a woman was 'above all a mother'.
But criticism of the couple is rare as those who speak out are likely to end up in jail.
While the population have got used to Erdogan's extravagance with his palace, the source of his wealth remains something of a mystery.
According to Forbes magazine the 62 year old topped the list of the highest paid political figures with his earnings put at £43.2m.
His personal fortune is said to be over £139m built up over the years from stock investment and a substantial property portfolio..
With Erdogan now strengthening his grip on the country after the botched coup conditions for those on the poverty line are unlikely to improve.
Two out of every three children in Turkey live in poverty by European Union standards, according to a report prepared by Bahcesehir University's Centre for Economic and Social Research.
Turkey leads Southern Europe countries as well as other less-developed European countries such as Hungary and Romania in child poverty with 63 per cent of children aged under 15 in living in poverty.
In Romania, which has the closest rate to Turkey, this rate is 36 percent, while in Greece it is 16.5 percent and in Italy it is 12.4 percent.
Of the 20 million people living in rural Turkey more than two million fall below the poverty line and live on less than £3 a day.
Across the country the average annual wage is just over £5,000 compared to £21,000 in the UK.
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