Opposition candidate vows to transform presidential palace into university

The leftist main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) presidential candidate has vowed to steer clear of the luxurious presidential palace in Ankara if elected president on June 24, saying that he will instead transform the decadent building into a university for the nation’s brightest students, independent news site T24 reported.

Turkey is holding presidential and parliamentary elections next month, with President Recep Erdoğan seeking to cement his 15-year grip on the country with sweeping executive powers narrowly approved in a referendum last year.

Muharrem İnce on Saturday, said that he was overwhelmed by the attention he’s receiving as presidential candidate, following weeks of speculation surrounding CHP’s nominee, promising that he will be president to the whole of 80 million citizens of Turkey.

‘’I will never live in that palace,’’ İnce said, referring to the 1000-room complex built amid a great deal of controversy.

‘’I was looking for a good real-estate agent; I was thinking of selling the place but friends objected to the idea. I am going to transform that building into a university for Turkey’s top students. And, as president, I am going to live in the Çankaya Palace, where Atatürk lived,’’ İnce said.

Fifty-three-year old İnce, who is a former deputy leader of the party's parliamentary group from the northerwestern region of Yalova, has been a long-time vocal critic of Erdoğan.