Istanbul’s former AKP district mayors erected ‘tiny palaces’ as municipality buildings: Report

Several district mayors in Istanbul from the ruling AKP, who lost the mayoral race to the main-opposition CHP mayors, have constructed lavish "tiny palaces" as municipality buildings during their tenure utilizing millions of Turkish liras from public funds.

Duvar English

In many districts of Istanbul, municipalities governed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) had spent millions of Turkish liras and constructed what could be described as "tiny palaces" as municipality buildings before losing to the main-opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in 2024 local elections.

After the Sancaktepe Municipality Building went viral due to its excessive pomp and luxury, daily BirGün examined other municipality buildings in the megacity where millions live under hunger threshold.


The photograph showing the Sancaktape Municipality Building is taken from Google Maps.

The tender for the Sancaktepe Municipality Building was organized in 2012 and approximately 30 million liras was spent for the municipality building while it was led by the AKP. 

After Sancaktepe Municipality was won by CHP in the last elections, Necati Özkan, the campaign director of Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, announced that the municipality building has "6,000 square meters of presidential floor, many rest rooms, dining rooms, and a 200 square meters kitchen.”

After Özkan's statement made the news, Alper Yeğin, the new mayor of Sancaktepe from CHP, said in a statement, "The previous mayor designed a luxurious bathroom and a floor that a mayor would not need. I will share the story of a luxurious and failed municipality with you soon."


The photograph showing the Ümraniye Municipality Building is taken from the municipality website.

During AKP’s Hasan Can's tenure as the mayor of Ümraniye district, construction began on a new municipal building for the municipality. Approximately 23 million liras were spent on the construction of the municipal building in a tender held in 2011. A year later, an additional 6.65 million liras were spent on the unfinished construction. 

The three-block municipal building, with a total closed area of ​​35,000 square meters and a cost of approximately 30 million liras, was opened in 2013.


The photograph showing the Küçükçekmece Municipality Building is taken from Google Maps.

The service building of the Küçükçekmece Municipality was also constructed during the AKP era before CHP won the elections. Approximately 50 million liras were spent on the construction of the municipal building in a tender held in 2011. An additional tender of 17.5 million liras was conducted in 2013 for the unfinished construction. Total expenditures for the construction of the new building exceeded 67 million liras.


The photograph showing the Eyüpsultan Municipality Building is taken from the municipality website.

In 2013, a tender was conducted for the service building of Eyüpsultan Municipality, which had been under AKP governance for many years until it was transferred to the CHP in the last elections. The former AKP municipality mayorship expended over 22 million liras for the municipal building. Subsequently, in 2015, an additional 14.75 million liras was allocated through a second tender to finalize the construction.


The photographs showing the Güngören (above) and Bağcılar (below) municipality buildings are taken from the municipality websites.

During the AKP's tenure, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) organized a tender for the construction of a new service building for Güngören Municipality, with over 37 million liras spent in the tender held in 2016. Similarly, more than 62 million liras was invested in the service building of Bağcılar Municipality, which remains under AKP rule, through a tender organized in 2017.


The photograph showing the Zeytinburnu Municipality Building is taken from the municipality website.

In 2011, a tender was held for the service building of Zeytinburnu Municipality, which was re-elected under the AKP in the last local elections, with the tender price announced as 23.78 million liras. 


The photograph showing the Başakşehir Municipality Building is taken from Google Maps.

Additionally, another 130 million liras was allocated for the service building of Başakşehir Municipality, which continues to be governed by the AKP.