The mother of Qatar Emir, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, bought land from the area on which Kanal Istanbul will be built, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has confirmed, while slamming those criticizing the purchase.
"Is there a legal obstacle against the mother of Qatar Emir purchasing realty from our country? If George, Hans or etc. would intend to buy land people would probably not say anything," Erdoğan told reporters in Malaysia on Dec. 20, upon a question regarding the reports of the purchase.
Dubbed the "crazy project," Kanal Istanbul has been on the government’s agenda since 2011, but its realization has been delayed several times due to financial problems and environmental concerns.
With the project, the government is aiming at opening an artificial seaway between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea.
If completed, the artificial seaway will be a 43-kilometer-long and 400-meter-wide canal crossed by six bridges.
The project has been criticized for possibly paving the way for "unearned income" at the expense of the environment.
Saying that Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani owns land in Turkey already, Erdoğan questioned the reason for why the purchases bother people.
"Why are they bothered when the mother of Qatar Emir makes such a purchase? There are places that the Emir himself bought here. We opened the doors for it," Erdoğan said, while giving Spain, the United States and Germany as examples for the practice.
"When you look at Spain, you see that they are selling land to various people, businesspersons and presidents from across the world. Similarly, this takes place in the U.S. and Germany. There are legal regulations in these international steps we're taking," he added.