YAVUZ – Agency says disclosing cost of ErdoIan’s palace ‘might harm economy’

Agency says disclosing cost of ErdoIan’s palace ‘might harm economy’The Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKI) has refused to reveal the cost of the new presidential palace, saying the disclosure of the palaceand#39s price tag might damage the countryand#39s economic interests.The Ankara branch of the Turkish Union of Engineers and Architectsand#39 Chambers (TMMOB) sent an official letter to TOKI inquiring into the cost of the presidential palace, also known as andldquoAk Saray.

andrdquoTOKI withheld the information on the cost of the palace by saying the request could not be interpreted within the scope of the Law on the Right to Information, adding that the disclosure of information about the cost of the building might damage the economic interests of the country.Speaking to Todayand#39s Zaman, the president of the Ankara branch of the TMMOB, Tezcan KarakuI Candan, commented on TOKIand#39s refusal to reveal the cost of the palace, saying: andldquoTOKI did not reveal the cost [of the palace] because its cost is in fact so jaw-droppingly high that the revelation of such information would have destabilizing effects on stock exchanges.

andrdquoCandan went on to say that the real cost of the palace is much higher than the officially announced amount of TL 13 billion.andldquoIf the actual cost of the palace were the same as the amount the Finance Ministry announced, there would be no reason for TOKI to withhold the cost of the palace.

We can definitely say that the real cost of the palace is higher than the officially announced amount of TL 13 billion,andrdquo Candan said.Builder: I do not know the number of rooms in palaceErman IlIcak, the chairman of the holding company responsible for the construction of the new presidential palace in Ankara, has denied that the building has 1,000 rooms, adding that he did not know exactly how many rooms there are in the building.

In an interview with the Hurriyet daily on Tuesday, IlIcak said he was not sure whether the palace is larger than the Kremlin, but added that they have opened shopping malls in Russia that are larger than the presidential palace.When asked about the cost of the palace, IlIcak said that as the chairman of a contracting company for the construction of the building, he is not authorized to announce the cost of the palace.

He said most of the materials used in the construction of the building were procured from the domestic market.andldquoA small portion of the materials [used in the palace] was imported, but all the engineers, architects and workers were Turkish andhellipThis palace will be bequeathed to the next generation like AnItkabir [the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk].

andrdquoBuilt at a cost of TL 137 billion ($615 million) and constructed on 300,000 square meters inside the Ataturk Forestry Farm (AO) in Ankara, the palace has been the target of harsh criticism for its lavishness and size considering its function as the presidential residence, which is a symbolic seat in Turkey.Candan previously claimed on Nov.

19 that the palace has at least 2,000 rooms and may have up to 5,000 if underground levels are included, contradicting earlier official statements that said the total number of rooms is 1,000.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman