According to the Hurriyet Daily News Newspaper’s news; Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas has rejected claims of fraud involving two separate tenders from the metropolitan municipality.
Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas has rejected claims of fraud involving two separate tenders from the metropolitan municipality.
The claims were attributed to the investigation files of a second corruption case, which was controversially made public last week after its head judge declared in a written statement that he had been removed from the case amid “pressure.”
“We don’t engage in steps alone. We don’t know how those unfounded claims were procured from the [investigation] files. We work without wasting one cent,” Mayor Kadir Topbas said in a press statement Dec. 30.
Reports said investigators were examining Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality for selling a parcel of land owned by a police school in the city’s upmarket Etiler neighborhood to a construction company for less than half its worth without organizing any tender. The other claim was related to the tender for a new metro line on Istanbul’s European side.
Regarding the land, Topbas said it became the property of the municipality via a protocol with the Interior Ministry, adding that the $460 million value was determined after an assessment by the state-run housing agency (TOKİ). Reports said the cost of the land, located in one of Istanbul’s most prized neighborhoods, would approach $1 billion.
Topbas also said the municipality had not yet decided on the modalities of the tender, showing the parcel’s deed to cameras to prove that it had not been sold.
He also said claims about the Mecidiyekoy-Mahmutbey metro line aimed to obstruct the municipality in its transportation works.
“Are obstacles being erected to prevent us from building the metro network so that we don’t reach our goal of 400 km by 2019?” he asked.
Topbas also rejected Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Kemal Kilicdaroğlu’s suggestions that the municipality was bankrupt.
“We don’t have any domestic debts. We have long-term foreign debt related with the metro projects. We are at around 40 percent of our credit limit. Istanbul is not ruined; quite the contrary, it is a municipality that makes investments,” he said.
The second graft probe, which targets prominent businessman according to arrest orders obtained by daily Hürriyet, was reportedly aborted after the removal of its head judge, Muammer Akkas. The probe was said to be larger than the current graft scandal, although Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Akkas of going after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Hurriyet Daily News