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Turkish minister's car comment backfires

2015-05-26 08:46

FOOT IN MOUTH? Turkey Finance Mehmet Simsek created a stir after defending spending on posh cars by the government. Image: Supplied

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's finance minister has come under attack for defending government gobbling up the equivalent of about R15.5-billion on luxury cars and other vehicles for officials as "peanuts."

Mehmet Simsek made the remark as he tried to justify a move by the country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who promised to provide an armoured Mercedes to the country's top Muslim cleric.


The cleric had earlier returned such a vehicle following public uproar over the extravagance.

Simsek said the sum was "peanuts" compared to Turkey's budget.

Outraged opposition party leaders, addressing crowds at election rallies ahead of Turkey's June 7 elections,  said the money could have been spent to improve pensions or to aid Palestinians.

Erdogan has himself been criticised for moving into a 1150-room palace that opponents say was constructed despite a court injunction.

Come to South Africa, sir, and let our guys show you how to do it! - Ed

Read more on:    turkey  |  ankara

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