Istanbul Municipality demolishes presidential aide’s illegal construction

Istanbul Municipality demolished illegal construction carried out by Turkey’s Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, daily Cumhuriyet reported April 14. Meanwhile, pro-government journalist Ersoy Dede claimed that the construction was only a gazebo, and so its removal could not be called demolition.

Duvar English

Istanbul Municipality (IBB) demolished buildings that had been illegally constructed in the Kuzguncuk district, on a land belonging to Turkey’s Foundations’ General Directorate, but that was rented out to Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, daily Cumhuriyet reported. 

Neighborhood residents who made an official complaint about the construction noted that there had been landscaping work done on the lot, a gazebo built and a fireplace installed, in addition to a wall with barbed wire built around it.

The angry neighbors noted that residents cannot carry out any construction work in the area without municipal permission due to a municipal decision from the 1980s.

“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I couldn’t believe that a person who’s so high-up in government could be doing such illegal work on the Boğaziçi Vision Region,” Nadir Ataman from the Istanbul Municipal Board said. 

After research, Ataman revealed that the lot where the construction was taking place belonged to the Foundations’ General Directorate of the Republic of Turkey, and that it was being rented by Altun. 

“The Istanbul Municipality will take necessary legal action and I will make an official complaint,” Ataman said. “People are worried about survival, this lot is only concerned with living in mansions.”

While Altun made no statements on the issue, pro-government journalist Ersoy Dede claimed that the activity on the lot was not construction, but that Altun had actually “rehabilitated” the lot that had neighbored on his house and which had been previously occupied by homeless persons.

“All the neighbors were grateful that the drug addicts on the lot were gone,” Dede said. “Then IBB shows up with their partisan newspapers, remove a gazebo and make a scene saying they demolished illegal construction.” 

“It was a deconstruction, not a demolition, because there was nothing to demolish.”

Prosecutor's office launches investigation into news reports

Meanwhile, state-run Anadolu Agency reported that Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation into news reports regarding the land rented by Altun.

The prosecutor's office is accusing media organs of making Altun "a target of terrorist organizations" and alleged that the relevant news reports shared pictures of Altun's residence and his full address.