World Bulletin / News Desk
Campaigning for reelection on Thursday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to set up public kiraathanes -- reading houses -- in all cities, with both books and treats on offer.
“We’ll build the ‘Nation’s Kiraathanes’… These places will be filled with books and there will be cake, tea, and coffee [served],” he told a rally in the southern Hatay province.
He said people young and old alike would go there to read books and enjoy free treats.
Kiraathanes, literally reading houses, are a traditional place in Turkish culture dating back to the Ottoman era where people drank tea and coffee while reading books, newspapers, and magazines.
Erdogan said that these new kiraathanes, open 24 hours, would become a magnet for young people.
Speaking later that day in the capital Ankara, he said the kiraathanes will no longer be places where people play cards, reversing a shift in which the houses became known for non-gambling games.
He said they would measure around 100-400 square meters (1,076-4,305 square feet), depending on the size of the city.