Pinar Tremblay writes: The AKP’s grip on the media is well documented in Turkey and is used not only to prevent embarrassing news from spreading, but also to generate a false positive image in the public opinion of the president and his family.
In an attempt to showcase Emine Erdogan as a frugal, simple and environmentally friendly first lady, pro-AKP Yeni Safak Daily published a profile of how she manages the palace’s kitchen. Some intriguing details were revealed. In an effort to minimize waste, the Erdogan family recycles lemon and apple peels into vinegar. They also use their olive and date pits to make sauces. (Al-Monitor could not verify what kind of sauce can be made from these pits.) It appears that Emine is conscious about organic farming and investigates in detail all the origins of the products that enter the palace. We also learned that she had recommended dry mango slices to the first lady of Mali, Keita Aminata Maiga. According to the Yeni Safak article, Maiga was reportedly complaining about not being able to export mangos because of a short shelf life. Emine then recommended to dry mango slices to assist in Mali’s exports. But nothing got the attention of the Turkish public more than the white tea discussed in the article. The first lady of Turkey recommended that we all reconnect with Mother Nature and consume only the most natural products, and confessed that the most frequently consumed tea at the palace is white tea from the Rize region on the eastern Black Sea coast of Turkey.
So what is the big deal? White tea is sold in well-stocked supermarkets all over the world, along with black and green tea, at $3-$4 for a pack of 20 tea bags. But that is not the white tea consumed at the presidential palace in Turkey. Indeed, even most residents in Rize are not aware of this white tea, which sells for about $1,800-$2,000 per kilo (2.2 pounds). Considering the increasing poverty and the fact that 22 million out of 77 million people in Turkey live on an average monthly income of $320, this most unrefined and luxurious white tea is not available at your regular supermarket. The majority of Turks, who are mostly black tea drinkers, have not even heard of white tea. The white tea consumed at the palace caused an uproar in social media, where people ridiculed the allegedly modest palace life of the Erdogan family. [Continue reading…]