'Turkey's president is not acting like the Queen - he is acting like a sultan'

Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he isn't a sultan - rather he wishes to be
like the Queen in a constitutional monarchy - but his actions suggest

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stands inside the new Ak Saray
presidential palace (White Palace) on the outskirts of Ankara, Turkey
Photo: AFP/Getty

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By Raziye Akkoc

8:00AM GMT 02 Feb 2015

He lives in the world's biggest residential palace that cost £384
million but according to Recep Tayyip ErdoÄ?an, the model of democracy
he seeks to follow is the UK's very own.

Despite Britain having a constitutional monarchy in which the Queen's
role is largely ceremonial, Mr ErdoÄ?an described the UK as a
"semi-presidency" which Turkey should see as an example.

"In my opinion, even the UK is a semi-presidency. And the dominant
constituent is the Queen," Mr ErdoÄ?an told Turkish state broadcaster,

But so far, Mr ErdoÄ?an has acted in a manner more similar to an
Ottoman sultan than Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen has many properties but none as large as Mr ErdoÄ?an's White Palace

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It boasts 1,000 rooms and has a total floor area of 3.1 million square
feet. This makes it four times the size of Versailles, home of the
lavish Louis XIV, the `Sun King' of France. Buckingham Palace only has
775 rooms.

In Turkish, it's called the Ak Saray - White Palace - and, as the
Telegraph's David Blair points out, the "quixotic architectural style
seems to cross the Ottoman and Seljuk traditions with that of a modern
Chinese railway station". Then there's the silk wallpaper.

The former Turkish prime minister also spent £115 million on a new
presidential jet.

He chaired cabinet meetings earlier this month

There is no doubt that Mr ErdoÄ?an changed Turkey during his time as
prime minister for 11 years until August last year. For most - even
his opponents - it was for the better, with more infrastructure in a
country where many areas, especially Anatolia, had been neglected.

But the former leader of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is
now changing the presidential role from one largely ceremonial to one
with more power.

He has already made it clear he has influence on foreign policy but
this month he chaired a cabinet meeting - his predecessors, Ahmet
Necdet Sezer and Abdullah Gül, never did.

The meeting was held in the lavish palace and lasted a reported
eight-and-a-half hours.

There are also his recent comments on the Armenian genocide, which
would usually be an issue for the prime minister.

The president said if history "actually reveal[s] that we have
committed a crime, if we have a price to pay, then as Turkey we would
assess it and take the required steps". Turkey still denies it and
disputes the figure of 1.5 million killed.

He literally posed with Turkish warriors including one from the Ottoman period

When images emerged of the president posing with warriors dressed in
attire dating back as far as 200 BC, Game of Thrones jokes abounded.

But he truly did welcome Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority
leader, to Turkey and his palace with men dressed as warriors from the
Seljuk empire, the Mughal empire, and of course the Ottoman empire.
Reports say all world leaders will be welcomed in a similar fashion.

The Arabic-alphabet Ottoman language is returning

This is one that is sure to upset his opponents, which include the
party of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the
Republican People's Party (CHP). Ataturk abolished the Ottoman
language in 1928 and replaced its Arabic alphabet with a Latin one.

Now Mr ErdoÄ?an wants a return to the Arabic alphabet, forcefully
declaring that it would be taught in schools and compulsory to learn.

"Whether they like it or not, the Ottoman language will be learnt and
taught in this country," he said last month.