The European Court of Human Rights has accepted an application made by the Turkish Union of Engineers and Architects’ Chamber (TMMOB) Ankara with regard to disclosure of the cost of Turkey’s presidential palace.
Up to now, the Turkish government has refused to reveal how much the presidential palace cost to build and how much is being spent to maintain it.
Tezcan Karakuş Candan, the head of the TMMOB’s Ankara office, claimed that the EU court’s acceptance signals the start of a new legal process.
As reported by the Stockholm Centre for Freedom online, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s presidential palace, located in Ankara’s Beştepe neighbourhood, has been a source of controversy.
At the beginning of October, a report by Turkey’s Court of Accounts had shown that more than TL 1.8m (around $300,000) was spent daily in 2017 for its expenses.
When Erdogan moved into the palace in November 2014, more than TL 1.7bn had been spent on it, twice the original estimate.
In a separate report, Sputnik news online noted that Turkey’s government has put yet another $230m for construction of more buildings next to the presidential complex, which is already 30 times larger than the White House.
In 2015, the Ankara 5th Administrative Court ordered to halt its construction as the Forest Farm is a protected zone and to annul the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality’s master development plan. But Erdogan challenged the court’s decision, saying regardless of the ruling, the construction would not stop.
“I will open it and sit inside it,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.
Other controversial issues surrounding the palace concern its hugely expensive interior decorations. For instance, bathrooms have silk wallpaper and though not “gold-plated,” as the opposition claimed earlier, they are nearly worth their weight in gold, their price ranging between $1,750 – $3,500.
The actual number of rooms in the building remains a mystery. In the wake of some intense public debates, Erdogan announced that the palace had some “1,150 or so” rooms.