Main opposition leader wants to turn Erdoğan's presidential palace into student dormitory

Turkey's main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said that university students' housing crisis has pushed him to weigh the idea of turning Erdoğan's presidential palace into a dormitory should he come to power. Meanwhile, police late on Sept. 20 detained nine students in the capital Ankara for staging a protest to draw attention to the astronomical rent prices.

This collage photo shows Kılıçdaroğlu (L) and Erdoğan.

Duvar English

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for dismissing the housing crisis of university students, saying he plans to build a dormitory in place of Erdoağan's presidential palace if he comes to power.

“I was thinking about building a university in place of your palace. But now I will also think about turning it into a dormitory! I will give everything that has been stolen from the youth back to them. I will compensate your mistakes, extravagance,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in a series of tweets on Sept. 20.

“Erdoğan, you cannot speak with the children of this country as if you admonish them. You are in that position to serve them. Do your job right!” Kılıçdaroğu wrote.

Kılıçdaroğlu further said that the government uses the taxes to fund Erdoğan's presidential palace, instead of using them for the general welfare of citizens.

Kılıçdaroğlu's comments came a day after Erdoğan boasted about the government's scholarship for university students in the amount of 650 liras and claimed that the lack of enough dormitories was “being exaggerated.”

"There's nothing to exaggerate. Why are you exaggerating?" Erdoğan said on Sept. 19, noting that the "unmatched support" of his government to university students was "working successfully."

Erdoğan also touched upon the issue on Sept. 20 in a tweet, deeming what his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) did for students as a "revolution." 

He shared data on the number of dormitories as well as the number of students receiving scholarships for both 2002 and 2021. 

"We will not allow lies that are being produced by some people for their own political interests to come in between us and the youth, whom we will trust our country's future," Erdoğan tweeted. 

Students detained for setting up tents at park in protest of high accommodation prices

Meanwhile, police late on Sept. 20 detained nine students in the capital Ankara for staging a protest to draw attention to the astronomical rent prices.

The students have set up a tent in Ankara's İlhan Erdost Park in the 100. Yıl Neighborhood, sleeping outdoors in protest of high rental prices as well as the lack of affordable dormitories.

The police came to the park and attempted to remove the tents. In the face of students' resistance, they detained nine of them.

The students have shared the images of the police intervention from a social media account under the name of “Yurtsuzlar” (which translates as “those without a dormitory”).

“Those who are detaining university students in Ankara should know that those left homeless, without a dormitory will exceed you. You cannot detain millions of university students!” read the group's tweet.

Organized under the "We can't find shelter" movement across, the students in Turkey have been demanding affordable rents and quality dormitories.

They staged their first protest in Istanbul's Yoğurtçu Park on Sept. 19, saying they were committed to continuing sleeping on the streets until the government installs policy changes to alleviate the housing problem in the country.