Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has presented a luxurious Boeing 747-8 as a gift (!) to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, according to a report published on Thursday by Turkey’s state-run broadcaster TRT Haber.
The 747-8 model VIP Boeing touched down in İstanbul on Wednesday morning. The arrival of another highly visible and obviously expensive addition to the fleet raised criticism from Gamze Taşçıer, a deputy of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), who compared the $400 million, seven-bedroom and two-reception hall plane to a “flying palace.”
“The presidential palace calls on the people of Turkey to save on an almost daily basis. But the same people who call for belt-tightening measures cannot give up on luxury and ostentation,” said Taşçıer in a written claim forwarded to Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay.
The arrival of the jet came not long after Erdoğan’s son-in-law and Turkish Finance and Treasury Minister Berat Albayrak announced savings measures to be implemented on the Turkish state’s massive roster of vehicles for use by public officials.
The VIP 747-8 will take its place among the 11 other state jets in the fleet, which also boasts three helicopters. One of these aircraft, an Airbus A340 VIP, was formerly owned by deposed Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and bought by Turkey for $78 million in 2016.
While the jet’s arrival drew criticism of the government for the expenditure, reports have emerged that it was presented to Erdoğan as a gift from Qatari Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani.
Turkish news site Kokpit.aero reported the Qatari sheikh presented it as a gift to demonstrate his “love for Erdoğan and trust for Turkey” after Erdoğan showed an interest in the aircraft, which was for sale for an asking price of around $400 million just three years after being delivered to Qatar in 2015. Kokpit.aero did not provide information on the source of the report.
The CHP’s Taşcıer said on Friday that she is still waiting on a response to a written question to Vice President Fuat Oktay on whether the 747-8 model VIP jet was purchased or gifted.
‘’I am asking the same question again,’’ Taşçıer said on Twitter. ‘’Was this jet purchased? I am looking for an answer from the presidential palace and not from Turkish media.’’ Taşçıer last week accused Ankara of ostentation while advising belt-tightening measures to the people of Turkey amid an ongoing financial crisis.
Yazılı sordum yanıt alamadım.
Bir kez daha, bugün edindiğim yeni bilgileri de ekleyerek #UçanSaray’ın hikayesini anlatıyor ve tekrar soruyorum.
Bu uçak satın alındı mı?
Yanıtı yandaş basından değil, Saray’dan bekliyorum. pic.twitter.com/KqtR6Pbz2L
— Gamze TAŞCIER?? (@gamzetascier) September 14, 2018