AKP municipalities sell mosques and schools to pay tax debt

Istanbul’s AKP-run Bayrampaşa Municipality has decided to sell two mosques in the district and transfer them to the Treasury to cover its tax debt of 90.8 million liras. The AKP-led Sancaktepe Municipality also will sell four plots of land with schools on them to the Treasury to pay insurance and tax debts.

Duvar English

After Istanbul’s Sancaktepe Municipality run by the ruling Justice and Development Party decided to sell schools to cover its tax and insurance debts, Bayrampaşa Municipality run by the party decided to sell mosques in the district to pay its tax debts, according to reporting of daily BirGün.

In the July session of Bayrampaşa Municipal Council, municipal officials stated that the municipality and the municipal company BAYPAŞ have a total tax debt of 90.8 million Turkish Lira (~$3.5 million on July 7). To cover this debt, the municipality’s two immovable properties will be transferred to the Treasury, and the tax debt will be written off. 

Nonetheless, according to the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadastre records, the district’s Ulubatlı Hasan Mosque and Kocatepe Ulu Mosque are located on these two lands.

The Municipality Council passed the proposal for the sale of the mosques with the majority vote of the AKP council members despite the objections of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Good (İYİ) Party members.

The AKP’s Sancaktepe Municipality, on the other hand, submitted a proposal to the municipal council and stated that the municipality’s four immovable properties would be sold to the Treasury Ministry to pay the debt to the Social Security Institution (SGK) and other tax debts. 

Nonetheless, the zoning plan over these four land includes basic, vocational, and technical education facilities along with two primary schools and a kindergarten.

According to the district municipality budgets approved by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Council in November 2022, Sancaktepe Municipality has a budget of nearly 1.9 billion liras, and Bayrampaşa Municipality has a budget of 804 million liras in 2023.