As Turkey nears its national election on June 7, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has managed to spark a national conversation regarding the material out of which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s toilet is made. Erdogan has sued the party’s leader to the tune of 100,000 Turkish Lira for claiming that members of his incumbent party enjoy the luxury of golden toilets.
“I’m calling on my citizens who voted for the ruling party in the past: I don’t think like them, I’m not eager for a palace, I’m not eager for a golden toilet seat, I’m not eager to hit the jackpot; I work only and only for this country’s beautiful people,” said CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at a political rally, not specifying where he would expect to find such a toilet seat. He made the target of the accusation much clearer at a separate rally in Izmir on Saturday, where he listed the toilet as one of many luxuries Erdogan had purchased for himself using public funding. “Palaces have been built for you, planes have been bought, golden (toilet) seats have been bought. … How can you represent the people’s will when you’re sitting on a gold-plated toilet?” he asked.
Erdogan initially responded to the accusation by inviting Kılıçdaroğlu to his lavish palace–a place Kılıçdaroğlu vowed never to step foot in–to find the infamous toilet. “I invite him to please come and take a tour. … I wonder if he will be able to find this golden toilet seat in any of these bathrooms,” he said on television, vowing that if the toilet surfaces, “I will resign from the presidency.”
He followed up the challenge with a lawsuit, suing Kılıçdaroğlu for 100,000 Lira ($37,195.47) for “slander and lies.” The legal action has led Kılıçdaroğlu to respond by noting that he never mentioned Erdogan by name and was actually referring to a separate Turkish politician:
“Photographs of gold-plated toilet seat were in newspapers. If a public servant is having a gold-plated toilet seat during the term of this ruling party, am I responsible for this? Will I not call him to account for it? I didn’t say ‘palace,’ or this and that. But I said something clearly: If gentlemen in Ankara are getting gold-plated toilet seats done, somebody in this country should think about this,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Erdogan’s lavish spending while in office, including the illegal construction of a palace for himself on a national park, has become a focal point of the elections. The palace cost $615 million to build and is quadruple the size of France’s Versailles palace. Along with the palace, Erdogan bought himself a $185 million airplane. The color and material of its toilets remain uncertain.
Turkey will hold its national elections on June 7.