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Is Erdogan losing touch with reality?

Ankara’s welcoming ceremony for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Jan. 12 featured 16 ancient warriors, rekindling the Ottomanism debate.
Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan (R) shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara January 12, 2015. REUTERS/Adem Altan/Pool (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4L43Z
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In Turkish culture, the “gate” image is known to symbolize power and dominance. In President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “New Turkey,” it is being reinforced with the image of “stairs,” symbolizing the ascent to “prosperity and power.” In this context, Turkey’s newest and most famous staircase is in Erdogan’s pompous new 1,150-room palace. Made of fancy gray marble, the 25-step stairway leads from the palace’s ground floor ceremonial entrance up to the official presidential quarters.

The international audience had a first glimpse of the palace’s staircase on Oct. 31 when The New York Times published a picture of Erdogan posing alone in front of it. On Jan. 12, the same staircase made the headlines again as 16 men, clad in ancient eastern warrior costumes and holding replica swords, maces and spears, lined up on both sides of the staircase, eight on each side. Some were bedecked in chain mail and helmets, sporting fake mustaches and beards.

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