TODAY’S – Housing office insists Ak Saray financial data must be kept secret

Housing office insists Ak Saray financial data must be kept secretHousing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKI) President Mehmet Ergun Turan has said the data pertaining to the cost of the Ak Saray presidential palace are secret and cannot be released to the public.andldquoQuite a bit of data has been requested since it is an important state building.

However it cannot be shared because there is confidential information within the data,andrdquo said Turan speaking to journalists late last week.andldquoThis building is a source of pride for our state.

It is a building that will be left to future generations,andrdquo said Turan on Ak Saray, a colossal complex with more than 1,000 rooms that was built on state forest land at a cost of TL 137 billion, according to Finance Minister Mehmet IimIek, although critics have claimed that the total costs could be three times as high or more.Thousands of trees in a 300,000-square-meter section of Ankaraand#39s Ataturk Forestry Farm (AO) were cut down to make way for the massive presidential palace, which President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan has insisted was not built for him but for whoever who holds the position of president.

In February the Ankara 5th Administrative Court suspended construction of the palace, although ErdoIan defiantly vowed to carry on with the project.The construction continued despite the court orderandldquoAs an engineer I am proud of the work that has been done.

It is a place that belongs to our nation. It is one of the most important architectural structures in Turkey in recent years,andrdquo said Turan, whose remarks echoed similar recent statements made by ErdoIan.

andldquoThey have said this and that. Let them say it.

We donand#39t care at all. We are in an effort to become a big state.

We have Dolmabahe Palace and TopkapI Palace, which we are still proud of. Do we have something that we can leave for future generations? Look at this [palace].

When people ask where Turkey is governed, this palace will answer that question,andrdquo ErdoIan said.Recent claims have arisen regarding cost of furniture and other items in Ak Saray, alleging that single chairs in the palace have cost as much as TL 75,000 and that gold-plated glasses cost more than $500 each, higher than the monthly minimum wage in Turkey.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman