AKP-run district municipality transfers $61.5M debt to successor CHP

The former ruling AKP administration of the Sancaktepe district municipality in Istanbul has transferred a whopping two billion Turkish lira ($61.5 million) debt to the successor main opposition CHP. The municipality made headlines with its lavish interiors.

Duvar English

The newly-elected administration of Istanbul’s Sancaktepe district from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on April 16 announced that their ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) predecessor transferred two billion liras ($61.5 million) of debt.

The Sancaktepe district in Istanbul’s Anatolian side has switched over to the CHP in the March 31 local elections, receiving 50.6% of the votes. The district has had AKP-run municipalities since its establishment in 2008.

The new CHP administration announced the exorbitant debt left over by the former administration to the public, hanging a banner over the municipality building with an itemized list of debts. 

The municipality owed 804 million liras ($24.7 million) to various contractors and 133 million liras ($4 million) in public debt. 

The AKP municipality describes the Sancaktepe district hall as a synthesis of Seljuk, Ottoman, and contemporary architecture.

The newly elected mayor Alper Yeğin brought the financial waste at the municipality to public attention.

“I will tell you the tale of a bankrupt municipality,” he said. 

Yeğin on April 16 toured the lavish municipality building with journalist İsmail Saymaz from the oppositional SZC network, featuring grand interiors and luxurious furnishings.

Saymaz shared images from the building on his social media account. 

“We were barely able to pay our employees their salaries this month,” he complained. 

Sancaktepe is one of the newer districts of Istanbul, with a population of 500,000 over a 63-kilometer-square area. 

The municipality moved into the new district hall building in 2018, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally cutting the ribbon at the ceremony.

The building has 30,000 square meters of indoor space and features amenities such as an “Oriental corner,” two mayoral suites, and personal bathrooms for upper management.