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Turkish president cites ‘cockroach problem’ as reason for palace move

Recep Tayyip Erdogan defends the construction of new presidential palace, saying his old office was infested with cockroaches

Published: Updated:

Turkey's president has defended the controversial construction of a grandiose new presidential palace, saying his old office was infested with cockroaches.

in an interview with A-Haber television broadcast late Friday, Erdogan said his reasons for needing the 1,150-room palace were more mundane than critics claimed.

"A guest would come to the old prime ministry office and find cockroaches in the bathroom. That's why we built this palace."

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been accused of squandering state resources when he was prime minister by building the 1,150-room palace, which critics say was illegally built on protected land. In the run-up to Sunday's parliamentary elections, opposition parties have criticized the expenditure.

Erdogan moved into the vast structure after he was elected president in August. The former presidential palace was given to the prime minister.

He said: "Does such an office suit the prime minister of the Republic of Turkey? There can be no question of waste where representation is concerned."