Turkey leader Erdogan says palace has 1,150 rooms, not a mere 1,000

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (middle) walks to welcome Russian President Vladimir Putin (unseen) during the official welcoming ceremony at Turkey's Presidential Palace in Ankara on Dec 01, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (middle) walks to welcome Russian President Vladimir Putin (unseen) during the official welcoming ceremony at Turkey's Presidential Palace in Ankara on Dec 01, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

ANKARA (AFP) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday corrected press reports stating his grandiose new palace has 1,000 rooms, saying it actually boasts 1,150.

"You don't cut corners when it comes to the prestige" of a nation, Erdogan told a business audience in Istanbul.

"Let me tell you it has at least 1,150 rooms, not 1,000 as people say."

The presidential palace, built in a suburb of the capital Ankara at a cost of around 490 million euros (S$796 million), covers some 200,000 sq m - more than 30 times the size of the White House and bigger even than France's majestic Palace of Versailles.

Erdogan, who took over Turkey's presidency in August after serving as prime minister for more than a decade, added: "We wanted to build a work about which future generations will say: 'It is from here that the new Turkey was led'."

The opposition has condemned the vast palace as an absurd extravagance that shows Erdogan is slipping towards authoritarian rule.

"This is not my palace, it's not private property, it's the people's, it belongs to them," Erdogan said.

The first foreign visitor to the palace was Pope Francis last month, followed by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.