ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will ask the government to provide a private jet to the country's top Muslim cleric, ignoring criticism caused by his earlier promise to give the cleric a Mercedes.
Erdogan told NTV television late Tuesday that Mehmet Gormez, who heads a government body that regulates religious affairs, was a respected Islamic religious leader who deserved the same conveniences as the pope.
Erdogan said the pope "has a private jet, private cars and armored vehicles. That's the situation at the Vatican and our religious leader will take scheduled flights?"
Last week Erdogan promised to allocate a Mercedes to Gormez after the cleric returned one following an uproar over the expenditure.
Erdogan has himself been criticized for moving into a 1,150-room palace.