Opposition lashes Erdogan for brawl over gratis tea handed out by him in a rally

A brawl broke out during Turkish President’s election rally in Mediterranean city of Adana on March 10, over packages of black tea that were being handed out by Tayyip Erdogan himself.

Subsequently, the opposition slammed Erdogan during a joint rally on Sunday, accusing him of throwing small packages of gratis tea to the people, while having 48,000 Liras (currently 8800 USD) worth of tea himself.

Turks will be voting on March 31 in a local election. Erdogan introduced his campaign give-away in a caucus meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) on February 10, a 200g package of black tea which shall be drunk in “high spirits,” in his words.

As Turkey is now in full election season swing, Erdogan handed out packages of black tea, often tossing them into the crowd, resulting in critics’ portraying the president as a peddler.

A video surfaced one week after the Adana rally of AKP, displaying Erdogan’s efforts to break up a fight that broke out in the front rows of the rally.

“No fighting, please. Come forth, let me give one for each of you. What a shame! Oh no! Let me give tea to all of you. Why are you fighting over there,” Erdogan lamented while holding a mic with his shivering hand.

During a joint opposition rally with the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Good Party (IYI) chairman Meral Aksener lashed out at Erdogan by saying: “The ones who drink 48,000 Liras worth of tea shall not toss 100g tea packages to people. It’s a shame, it is a sin, it is ill-gotten. He rambles on with 10 cars, 3 helicopters, and 3,000 bodyguards. Man of the people, please!”

Aksener alluded to the white tea,” aka “Emperors’ tea” which is served in the presidential palace, Erdogan’s controversial residence with more than 1000 rooms that has been criticized by the opposition for what they label as a costly extravagant, wasting the nation’s

The price of a kilogram of white tea is more than 4,000 Liras.

The white tea became a focal point of controversy over the expenses of the “palace” in 2015 after the First Lady Emine Erdogan first told about it in an interview for the pro-government Yeni Safak daily, dubbed as “The ascetic life in the palace.”

When the Chamber of Architects asked the total construction cost of the presidential palace to the Public Housing Development Administration (TOKI) in 2014, the latter abstained from disclosing the real cost of the palace, saying it would be harmful to Turkey’s “national interests.”

Turkey’s Court of Accounts announced the daily expense of the palace as 1,8 million Turkish liras (more than $300 000) in 2018.

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