Istanbul : The Emir of Qatar has given one of the world's largest and most expensive luxury Jumbo jets to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani presented the Boeing 747-8i, worth an estimated US$500 million, as a symbol of "Thani's special love for Erdogan," according to Turkey's state-run broadcaster TRT.
The jet, previously served in Qatar's VIP Amiri fleet, which caters exclusively to the royal family of Qatar and other high-ranking government officials.
The jumbo jet given to President Erdogan is outfitted to carry only 76 passengers and 18 crew, with the interior filled with staterooms, lounges, boardrooms, First Class seating and even a hospital.
The gift of the jumbo jet, which will join Turkey's presidential fleet, comes amid a growing economic crisis in Turkey, has drawn flak from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and had expressed concern that the President was using taxpayers' money to buy a jet as the country struggles to avert a financial crisis.
He defended his decision to accept a luxury plane from Qatar, saying it was a gift, not a purchase, and that it had been donated to the Turkish state, not to him personally.
Turkey has backed Qatar in a year-long stand-off with other Arab states. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain severed all diplomatic and trade links with the tiny gas-rich state over its close ties to Iran and its alleged support for jihadists.