Court suspends Agaoglu Bakirkoy 46 project amid graft woes!

An Istanbul court has ordered that an ongoing construction project in the city’s Bakirkoy district run by contractor Ali Agaoglu, who was among dozens of people detained over corruption charges last week, be suspended.

Court suspends Agaoglu Bakirkoy 46 project amid graft woes!

An Istanbul court has ordered that an ongoing construction project in the city’s Bakirkoy district run by contractor Ali Agaoglu, who was among dozens of people detained over corruption charges last week, be suspended.

Construction mogul Agaoglu was released after being taken into custody as part of an ongoing graft probe on condition that he be kept under judicial supervision and not leave Turkey. The probe is investigating whether Agaoglu, popularly known for large-scale housing projects, benefited from unfair exemptions and privileges from local authorities in his projects.

Prosecutors have charged suspected local authorities and government officials with granting privileges to designated individuals by helping developers obtain approval on “Special Project Sites” for the development area known as Bakirkoy 46, belonging to Agaoglu Construction.

Agaoglu allegedly wanted to increase the maximum height of the buildings he can build on the Bakirkoy plot from a permitted 35 meters to 70 meters, thereby almost doubling the area of construction. When the city council rejected this, the businessman took the issue to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who allegedly ordered the city to “settle the issue.”

Following a criminal complaint filed by the Bakirkoy Municipality, the local court ordered Agaoglu’s Bakirkoy 46 project be stopped. The court said the project did not meet the requirements of healthy urban planning and that it posed risks of interfering with planned road construction in the region. Another factor for the court in suspending the project is that it exposes İstanbul’s historic silhouette to potential further damage. The Bakirkoy 46 project is close to another controversial project, the 16:9 in Zeytinburnu, whose construction stirred public outrage as activists and intellectuals say the high-rise buildings virtually mar Istanbul’s historical silhouette. Only a few weeks ago, the site of a historic tank factory in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu district was opened up to construction, adding to skyline woes.

Agaoglu said last week that they will appeal the court’s decision and are confident the project will resume shortly thereafter.

Suspects also reportedly helped developers overcome bureaucratic problems in violation of construction regulations on such mega projects as Agaoglu Maslak 1453 in Istanbul.

Today’s Zaman

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