Increasing public land sales by trustee mayors in Diyarbakır draws ire

Diyarbakır Civil Engineers Chamber president Mahsum Çiya Korkmaz has slammed the increasing public land sales by the city’s trustee mayors, saying that the trustee regime has adopted a “policy of unearned income and looting.”

Ardıl Batmaz / Gazete Duvar

The trustee management of the southeastern Diyarbakır province’s various districts put several land areas on sale, leading to criticism among experts and activists.

Diyarbakır Civil Engineers Chamber president Mahsum Çiya Korkmaz said that such sales might further increase with the nearing of the local elections scheduled for March 2024 and deemed them as an “attack on human rights.”

“They (trustee mayors) are making the benefits of these areas, which normally should be used completely for people’s service, available to some fractions in return for income. There is a mutual benefit here. Both profiteers and opportunities benefit from unearned income (rant) and the relevant trustee gets benefit. Therefore, there is nothing left for people to benefit from,” Korkmaz told Gazete Duvar.

He said that municipalities are stuck in debt due to tenders granted to pro-government companies, corruption, wrongly-built structures and collapsed roads. And now they are selling land pieces to pay for these mistakes, without even giving an account for their actions.

Korkmaz said that from the first day that centrally-appointed trustees have taken the municipalities’ control, they have adopted a “policy of unearned income and looting.”

“This is an issue of understanding. From the first that they have arrived, they looked (at the city) via a looting perspective and sold public lands parcel by parcel. This is not something that came out suddenly as the elections started to approach but they (trustees) can increase these sales,” he said.

Korkmaz said that the tenders are published on the last day of their application closing and prices are determined without the preparation of an expert report.

(English version by Didem Atakan)