TODAY’S – Land owned by president’s relative opened for construction

Land owned by president’s relative opened for constructionThe Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has officially opened to construction a large piece of agricultural land in the atalca district that is registered in the name of a relation of President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan, according to a report in the Szcu daily published on Friday.The 55-hectare piece of land is owned by Osman Ketenci, the father-in-law of ErdoIanand#39s son Burak ErdoIan.

It came to the attention of the public in March, when a leaked voice recording revealed that then-Prime Minister ErdoIan had 10 villas under construction on the plot of land.The Istanbul City Council released a 15,000-scale construction plan for Kabaka village of atalca on Nov.

14, which also envisaged the opening of a major portion of Ketenciand#39s plot of land for construction, Szcu reported. Currently, 90 percent of the land in atalca is zoned for agricultural purposes.

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has also announced that those who object to the plan can take a legal action up to Dec. 8Meanwhile, the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) has released data showing that Turkey has lost 10.

5 percent of its arable land in the last 10 years due to those lands being opened for construction. The percentage of irrigable arable land in Turkey fell to 11 percent in 2014, according to TurkStat.

In an audio recording leaked in March, ErdoIan is reportedly heard talking to Ketenci, asking for information about desired modifications to the 10 villas in atalca, and he is also heard requesting that Ketenci purchase additional land surrounding the villas and buy a generator for the villas.In a related conversation, ErdoIan allegedly calls his son Bilal and instructs him to put pressure on Ketenci to finish the construction of the villas.

Bilal reminds his father that the construction will be very costly, but the former prime minister counsels him not to worry about the cost and not to limit the architect regarding expenditure.Main opposition Republican Peopleand#39s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Sezgin TanrIkulu submitted a parliamentary question in March asking ErdoIan if he had used his position as prime minister to fix problems that arose when obtaining zoning plans and the title deed for the atalca villas.

TanrIkulu also asked in his parliamentary question about the verity of claims that trees planted around the villas were purchased with state funds.ErdoIan has been facing criticism for his lifestyle, which appears that have become more lavish over the years.

In another leaked sound recording released in February, it was revealed that he allegedly owns villas in Izmirand#39s Urla district. In the recording, he is reportedly heard giving instructions on how to decorate the villas.

According to a related conversation between ErdoIanand#39s daughter Sumeyye ErdoIan and Latif TopbaI, a long-time friend of ErdoIan, the villas in Urla were reportedly saved from demolition because ErdoIan reassigned the district governorErdoIan has argued that the villas belong to TopbaI, and that he was being hosted as a guest.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman