Duvar English

An Istanbul court has blocked access to news reports on Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak’s land ownership on the route of the controversial Kanal Istanbul project, at the minister’s request.

Daily Cumhuriyet had reported on Jan. 20 that Albayrak, who is also President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law, purchased 13 acres of land in 2012, a year after Erdoğan announced plans for the construction of the canal.

The daily’s report was later confirmed by Albayrak’s lawyer Ahmet Özel, who said “it was an ordinary purchase.”

On Feb. 12, the Istanbul Anatolian 7th Court of Peace blocked access all online news reports regarding Albayrak’s land purchase, including that of Gazete Duvar.

Dubbed by Erdoğan himself as his “crazy project”, Kanal Istanbul involves the carving of an artificial shipping canal on the far western outskirts of Istanbul between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, thereby rendering a huge section of Istanbul’s European side an island. 

The project has been criticized by the opposition, who said that the area around the route has into a “rent market.” The value of the land along the route is expected to skyrocket if the project is realized.

According to reports, a number of Arab businesspeople have already purchased large swathes of land near the route of the project, looking forward to make huge profits.