Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, who was welcomed by a cavalry regiment during his last visit to Turkey, presented 53 Arabian horses to Ankara.
In remarks on Wednesday during opening ceremonies for a center that will provide hippotherapy with Arabian horses and for facilities of the Turkish General Directorate of Agricultural Enterprises (TİGEM), Erdoğan informed the attendees of the important role of horses in Turkish culture and mentioned the cavalry regiment which participated in 2014’s welcoming ceremonies for foreign leaders at the presidential residence.
“We also welcomed the Qatari emir in this way. After his return, he sent a message, we were surprised. He sent 53 Arabian horses. They are now under quarantine in Eskişehir. God willing, we will take these horses under our protection…” Erdoğan said. He also deflected criticism in advance, saying, “Of course, those who are disconnected from their cultures and civilizations will criticize this complex.”
Last month, reports circulating in the Turkish media claimed that a horse farm with the capacity to host 55 horses was under construction on property owned by TİGEM in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir, as part of a plan to establish a mounted troop for official ceremonies at the presidential palace.
Several other reports also suggested that the president’s office has decided to build a horse farm on an area of 0.8 hectares in the Atatürk Forestry Farm (AOÇ), where the presidential palace is located. The project was reportedly supposed to be carried out by the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality and included buying more than 50 horses — at a cost ranging from TL 30,000 to TL 70,000 per horse. According to these reports, one of the reasons for the construction of the palace is reportedly that President Erdoğan and his family members wish to enjoy “farm life” during their leisure time.
In November of last year, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow also presented Erdoğan with a horse of the breed Akhal-Teke.