Erdoğan: Putin said Turkey’s presidential palace is ‘sign of a great state’

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin said when he saw the presidential palace in Ankara that it was ‘a sign of a great state’ and jokingly asked for a room in it.

Speaking to NTV’s Oğuz Haksever during a live broadcast from the presidential palace on Monday evening, his third anniversary as president, Erdoğan said Putin was very much impressed by the palace and said it was a symbol of Turkey being a great state.

“He jokingly said, ‘Would give me a room here?’ When he saw the [presidential] complex, he said, ‘This work is the sign of a great state.’ I was showing him the [presidential] complex, which is the sign of a great state. You know the Kremlin. It is a sign of a great state. You would get lost inside of it. It is that kind of a [huge] place. We built the [Turkish presidential] complex, but the person leading the main opposition couldn’t accept it,” he said.

The presidential complex in Ankara’s Beştepe neighborhood was at the center of criticism when it was constructed due to its large budget, expensive interiors, more than a thousand rooms and luxurious design as well as the felling of trees in its 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.

“The so-called sultan has built this for himself in a country where 3 million people are without work,” said Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

“HEAD OF MİT MUST BE TIED TO THE HEAD OF STATE”

Erdoğan has also said on Monday that it is natural for a head of state to receive intelligence directly from the intelligence chief, while commenting on news that theNational Intelligence Organization (MİT) had been tied to the presidency by means of a recent government decree.

Speaking during a live broadcast on NTV on Monday evening, Erdoğan said: “Is the head of state not the person who has to receive the most important intelligence and information from the intelligence agency? The state will lose its ability to move quickly if the head of intelligence is not tied personally to the head of state.”

According to the new decree, published in the Official Gazette on Friday and numbered 694, the National Intelligence Coordinating Committee, which was previously chaired by MİT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, will be presided over by Erdoğan.

With the new decree, launching an investigation into the MİT undersecretary will be possible only with the permission of the president. Objections to a decision which gives or does not give permission to investigate the undersecretary will be made to the Council of State. In the event the permission is received, the investigation will be launched by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The intelligence services concerning Defense Ministry and Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) personnel will be conducted by MİT. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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