ANKARA, Turkey – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated a mosque on the grounds of his gigantic palace complex and opened it to the public in an apparent effort to stave off more criticism over his spending.
Erdogan, who has been accused of squandering state resources by building the 1,150-room presidential palace, on Friday dedicated the mosque to the people.
The "Bestepe People's Mosque" can accommodate 3,000 worshippers and is one of Ankara's largest.
The ruling party, founded by Erdogan, lost its parliamentary majority in last month's elections, in a blow to Erdogan's ambitions to turn the largely ceremonial presidency into an executive post.
Opposition parties had made the palace a theme of their election campaigns, forcing him on the defensive and to deny that it had gold-plated toilet seats.