Impostor swindles 200 million liras by using name of state housing agency in Turkey
ISTANBULAn imposter introducing himself as a former provincial deputy youth branch head of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has allegedly swindled some 200 million Turkish Liras from around 700 people by promising cheap housing in buildings constructed by the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ).
A 26-year-old man identified as Emre K. vanished into thin air after collecting money from some 700 people by promising “moderately priced” housing in TOKİ’s Kayabaşı houses in Istanbul’s Başakşehir district, according to a report by Turkish daily Habertürk.
According to witness testimonies, Emre K. introduced himself as a former deputy of the AKP’s youth branch in Turkey’s Central Anatolian province of Sivas and claimed he would be instrumental in finding TOKİ houses for people at a good price.
“There was no one he couldn’t reach on the phone. He provided documents for everything. We fell for it,” one of the victims, Zafer Dudu, said. Dudu added that the amount Emre K. swindled from himself and his acquaintances alone totaled more than 1 million liras.
The documents mentioned by Dudu were reportedly forged documents carrying the signature of TOKİ President Ergün Turan.
Many of the victims filed complaints with the public prosecutor’s office, as reports claimed Emre K. fled abroad with his girlfriend, whose identity remains unclear.
However, the impostor’s lawyer, Kadir Kartal, claimed his client was “manipulated [and] cheated by some people,” and was only away because he was afraid of the victims’ rage. “As far as I know, he is currently penniless,” Kartal added.
Following the reports, the TOKİ head spoke to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, warning low-income families against swindlers.
“These people say they would ‘prioritize’ the victims and forge TOKİ housing contracts,” Turan said, adding the swindlers request an advance payment and disappear after taking the money.
“When someone says something to them on behalf of TOKİ, they should either convey this to [our] administration via an e-mail or call through [our hotline] ALO TOKİ or file a complaint with the Prime Ministry Communication Center. We follow up,” Turan told the agency, calling on citizens to be on alert.