Turkish gov’t halts nation garden projects in line with austerity measures

The state-run Turkish Housing Authority (TOKİ) instructed contractors of “nation gardens” to stop ongoing projects, in line with the public spending cuts introduced by the Finance Ministry. The government spent 6.6M dollars for 11 garden tenders in the first five months of 2024.

Duvar English

The Turkish government has decided to halt all “nation garden” projects less than 75 percent complete as part of the recently implemented austerity measures. 

According to reporting by the daily BirGün, The General Communiqué on Savings Measures included provisions for the nation garden projects. 

The public parks were a major campaign point for the ruling Justice and Development Party, but have drawn criticism from the opposition for their questionable tender processes and unwelcoming layouts.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has praised the projects as “attractions that draw social, cultural, and economic value.” 

As of 2024, the gardens across Turkey cover an area of 74 million square meters. 

Information from tender records revealed that expenditures totaling 213,864,308 Turkish Liras (6.6 million dollars) were made for 11 nation garden tenders between January and May of 2024. 

Six of these tenders were carried out through negotiation, and three through open tendering.

Some of the expenditures for national gardens included construction, infrastructure, and environmental arrangement of the nation garden in the western province of Edirne, which came out to 186.6 million liras (5.8 million dollars). 

Another tender concerned the purchase of furniture and kitchen equipment for the Beykoz Nation Garden in Istanbul, which totaled 15.8 million liras (490.4 thousand dollars).

Deputy of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Cevdet Akay noted that two ongoing nation garden projects in his constituency were also halted.

The projects were tendered for a total of 287.1 million liras, and construction was underway when TOKİ sent the “stop operations” letter. sent by TOKİ to the contractor companies. 

“The government created a significant mess with these projects, just as with other projects, wasting the citizens' money,” criticized the deputy. 

One of the controversial nation garden locations was the disused Atatürk Airport lot in Istanbul.  

The Turkish State Council (Danıştay) canceled the project prepared by the Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change Ministry in January, ruling the tender was not “lawful.”

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality had sued the Ministry and TOKİ for conducting an illegal tender, as the area fell under the municipality’s jurisdiction defined by the Municipal Code.