Erdoğan administration takes control of Istanbul’s historic Topkapı Palace

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration took control of the operation and upkeep of Istanbul’s historic Topkapı Palace, one of the city’s main tourist attractions.

Control of the Ottoman palace was passed to a department of the presidency responsible for national palaces from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, according to a presidential decree published in the Official Gazette on Friday.

Erdoğan is centralising many state functions under his control after Turks voted last year to re-elect him with enhanced powers. Erdoğan’s political opponents say his leadership style threatens the country’s democracy and takes essential decisions and services away from public oversight. Erdoğan denies the accusations saying government is becoming more streamlined and efficient.

Topkapı Palace, built in the 15th century was once the headquarters and residence of Ottoman sultans, but is now a large museum.

When in Istanbul, Erdoğan works from Dolmabahçe, an opulent 19th century Ottoman palace, and has built a new sprawling neo-Ottoman palace as his residence in the capital Ankara.