Former Istanbul Municipality spent millions on dormitory linked to President Erdoğan’s son

New reporting reveals that when the ruling AKP controlled the Istanbul Municipality, they spent millions on the construction of a dormitory for the Turkey Youth Foundation (TÜGVA), an Islamist foundation with close ties to President Erdoğan.

Hazal Ocak / DUVAR

When the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) controlled Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB), they spent millions on the construction and maintenance of a dormitory for the Turkey Youth Foundation (TÜGVA), an Islamist foundation which has President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son Bilal Erdoğan on its advisory board. 

The currently main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP)-led municipality has filed a complaint for recompense of the expenses, which totaled nearly 15 million liras. 

TÜGVA received numerous land and building grants when the AKP controlled the city. Currently, İBB is in the process of fighting to get those grants back. The dormitory’s property was quietly granted to the organization in 2017.

The current İBB administration says the people of Istanbul are owed money.

“16 million people have the right to this public loss. The damage must be reimbursed immediately. The money of Istanbulites should be returned to Istanbulites,” İBB CHP Group Spokesperson Tarık Balyalı said. 

The AKP-led municipality reportedly spent over 13.6 million Turkish liras to build the dormitory in Bakırköy's Florya neighborhood, and another 1.4 million to restore the building’s floors. 

The cost of the construction to the municipality was revealed following an investigation by the current municipality. İBB has now requested that the Istanbul Governor’s office investigate who gave permission for the building to be constructed using municipal funds and resources. 

(English version by Erin O'Brien)