They do these things better in provincial theatres

My first reaction when seeing President Erdogan standing at the foot of the stairs of his palace in Ankara, said to be several times larger than Versailles, was to laugh (I am not a Turkish taxpayer). Surely it was some kind of film set, to be dismantled when the film has been completed. They would do better in Hollywood, or even in Las Vegas. At least there it would be fun. As for the janissaries that Mr. Erdogan now uses for ceremonial purposes, any provincial theatrical costumier would be ashamed of their tawdry inauthenticity.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish president, greets Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Dalrymple writes: ‘My first reaction when seeing President Erdoğan standing at the foot of the stairs of his palace in Ankara, said to be several times larger than Versailles, was to laugh (I am not a Turkish taxpayer). Surely it was some kind of film set, to be dismantled when the film has been completed. They would do better in Hollywood, or even in Las Vegas (at least there it would be fun). As for the janissaries that Mr Erdogan uses for ceremonial purposes, any provincial theatrical costumier would be ashamed of their tawdry inauthenticity.’

Cumhurbaşkanlığı Sarayı, Ankara

Cumhurbaşkanlığı Sarayı, Ankara. It has 1,150 rooms and cost about €500m to build

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