CHP mayor reclaims building previously leased for free to pro-government youth foundation

A municipal building in Bulancak, located alongside Turkey’s Black Sea, will be repurposed as a marriage office after the former mayor from the ruling AKP leased the building to the pro-governmental Islamic organization TÜGVA for ten years rent-free.

Duvar English

A municipal building in Bulancak, a district of Giresun province in Turkey’s Black Sea region, previously leased at no cost to the Erdoğan-linked Turkish Youth Foundation (TÜGVA), will be repurposed as a marriage office.

The decision to reclaim the two-story building follows the narrow victory of Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Necmi Sıbıç in the March 31 local elections, ending nearly 20 years of Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule in Bulancak. 

“The district needs a marriage office,” Sıbıç said following the council’s majority vote on the matter. “We have such a building, and we will repurpose it accordingly.”

Under former AKP mayor Recep Yakar, TÜGVA had been granted a ten-year rent-free lease of the building.

Furthermore, six summer schools were allocated to the youth organization founded by President Erdoğan’s son in 2023, a recent report by the daily BirGün revealed.

According to TÜGVA, these summer schools offered social and cultural activities, including Quran and other faith-related lessons to around 877 students.

TÜGVA Bulancak District Representative Ubeydullah Göktekin noted that such activities are likely to continue in 2024.

The Islamist TÜGVA organization has faced criticism over the past years for allegedly creating a “state within a state” by placing its members in key positions within the government while also being a frequent "favored recipient" of state tenders.

(English version by Wouter Massink)