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Accused of extravagance, Turkey’s top cleric returns car

May 5, 2015

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s top Muslim cleric says his office will return a luxury car after its purchase caused an uproar and accusations of extravagance.

Mehmet Gormez, head of the government body that regulates religious affairs, was criticized after reports said his office had splurged on a new car that cost 1 million Turkish Lira ($368,000).

In an interview with Haberturk television late Monday, Gormez accused the Turkish media of trying to “discredit” his office — considered the highest Muslim authority in Turkey. He added, however, he would return the car, which Turkish media said was a 2014 model Mercedes S500.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also been criticized for moving into a lavish 1,150-room palace that opponents say is too extravagant, destroyed important forest land and was constructed despite a court injunction.