Turks fuming at first lady for suggesting ‘drying mangoes’ to combat waste

Following a resurfacing interview with Emine Erdoğan, Turkish social media users are speaking against Turkey’s first lady’s lavish lifestyle.

“Dry mangoes to keep them longer,” reads a headline in Erdoğan’s interview with pro-government daily Yeni Şafak’s Ayşe Olgun.

The interview itself is titled, “The simple life in the palace kitchens”.

“Emine Erdoğan has told the people to make vinegar out of apple peels and limit portion sizes to combat waste, while the palace kitchen spending rose by 80 percent in 2020 to 5.4 million liras ($600,000),” said a Twitter user.

“Dry your mangoes to keep them longer, that is if you can buy mangoes,” said another user.

“I don’t have the simple life to dry mangoes. I am constantly in action, looking for sales, cheap markets,” another said.

The tropical fruit is a recent addition to Turkish kitchens, and is often expensive.

“I am 60 years old. I don’t know how a mango tastes, or how to eat it. I doubt that 99 percent of the nation knows what it is, let alone having eaten one,” main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Mahmut Tanal tweeted.

“People queue for onions and potatoes, if you tell them to dry mangoes, the light bulb will blow up,” said another user, referring to the light bulb used in the ruling Justice and Development Party’s logo.

The Turkish lira has lost 16 percent of its value this year, and out of Turkey’s 84 million citizens, some 30 million lived below the poverty line in 2020, according to a report by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

The interview was originally published in 2015. In the interview, Emine Erdoğan speaks against food waste and pesticide use, and encourages natural healing methods before medication. The advice to dry mangoes appears to be directed to the first lady of the west African nation of Mali, to improve the export value of the fruit.

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