Ankara: The Qatari Emir has given Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a Boeing 747-8 aircraft as a gift, reportedly the world’s largest and most expensive private jet. Erdogan has found himself in a controversy in Turkey, having to defend the “gift” and reject opposition claims the plane had been bought in a costly purchase for the presidency.
In comments published Monday, Erdogan said Turkey had shown interest in buying the on-sale Boeing 747-8 plane – reportedly worth around $400 million – but Emir Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani insisted on offering the plane as a gift. “We were interested. When the Qatar emir was informed of this he gave it as a gift, saying ‘I won’t take money from Turkey. I will give this plane as a gift.’”
Last month, during a visit to Ankara, the emir offered $15 billion direct investment to Turkey.
The Turkish president insisted that while the jet would be used for his trips, “the plane is not mine, it is the Turkish Republic’s”, in comments to reporters while returning from a visit to Azerbaijan.
Erdogan said that once the paintwork was finished he hoped to use the plane for travel.
Gulf media have said that the giant plane, which was part of Tamim’s personal fleet, is equipped for only 76 passengers and has lounges and boardrooms.
After Erdogan’s latest remarks, opposition CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu hit back at Erdogan and questioned his “honour” over the move to accept such a gift.
“How can it not cause you discomfort?” Kilicdaroglu said on Monday.