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Turkish President’s Gigantic Dinner Table Has Become A Meme

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's critics are mocking his lavish table, which was shown in a photo of a formal iftar meal at his palace.

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Here's Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at an iftar dinner, the meal used to break the fast each evening during Muslim’s holy month of Ramadan, during an event he hosted for Islamic scholars at the presidential palace.

Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan’dan ilim adamlarına iftar… http://t.co/y1g31X9P7y

This picture and a link to a short report on the event were posted on Twitter on Tuesday by the Diyanet, the country's top Islamic institution. The dinner seems to have taken place at least one day earlier, as comments about the dinner appear online from Monday onwards.

People in Turkey wasted little time in turning the picture into a meme that mocked the extravagantly huge table, for example showing the size of the meal you’d need to fill it.

Saray'da Cumhurbaşkanı dahil toplam 29 kişi 350 kiloluk maklubeyi yarım saatte yiyerek Guinness'e girdi.

Or adding captions, such as this one that said the table was a new use for Pluto now that it was no longer a planet, according to a translation given by Turkey's English-language newspaper Hurriyet Daily News.

Gezegenlikten çıkarılan Plüton'u yemek masası yapmışlar :(

There were jokes that the people around the table were in different timezones, so they would break their fast at different times.

Gördüğüm en mütevazı iftar masası. Bir ucunda iftar açılırken diğer ucunda sahur yapılıyor saat farkından

And some people wondered how anyone could reach those flowers in the middle.

- Şu çiçeği bi düzeltin yamuk duruyo + Hemen efendim...

This man compared Erdogan’s lavish set-up to the poverty elsewhere in Turkey, which hosts almost 1.8 million refugees who have fled neighboring Syria’s civil war, according to the UN's refugee agency.

Iftar at Erdogan's crib (Aksaray) vs. Iftar of Syrian refugees in Urfa...

And, well, some of the suggestions were just a bit odd – although they did provide some ideas for others ways use that much space.

Ak Saray'da Verilen İftar Yemeğinin Masası Üzerine Caps Yağdı http://t.co/H7EyLsuWHH

Saray eğlenceleri kapsamında dünyaca ünlü dansçı Francisco Lewis sergilediği performansla büyük takdir topladı.

Erdogan's table played into common accusations from his critics. They say he has a big sense of self-importance and wants to take steps towards one-man rule in Turkey, as the Financial Times reported in April.

Erdogan's party lost its majority in this month's general election, in which his aim was to win a two-thirds majority that would allow him to change Turkey's constitution and expand his powers. He has also came under fire for the 1000-bedroom presidential palace, which cost over $600m, the BBC reported last year.

The Ankara Architects' Chamber – which has previously criticized Erdogan over the palace – this week valued the dinner table, chairs, and ornaments used for the iftar dinner at $375,000, but Erdogan denied these claims, AFP reported on Thursday. He has defended the palace as a symbol of Turkey's rising status, and as something that belongs to the office of the president rather than to him as an individual.

Turkey's citizens have launched several social media campaigns to protest their politicians in recent months, especially on the topic of women's rights. In early June, women posted photos of their backs online after Erdogan made a sexist joke.

Shyamantha Asokan is a foreign news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Shyamantha Asokan at shyamantha.asokan@buzzfeed.com.

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