Top Turkish court dismisses presidential palace appeal, architects’ chamber to take case to ECHR
Oya Armutçu ANKARA
AFP PhotoTurkey’s Constitutional Court has dismissed several appeals claiming the illegality of the new presidential palace construction in Ankara, prompting one of the applicants, the head of the Ankara branch of the Chamber of Architects, to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The Constitutional Court dismissed the appeals on procedural grounds, without making a judgment on the merits of the case.
Recalling that the huge complex was built despite a court decision for stay of execution delivered in March 2014, one of the applicants, the Ankara Bar Association, said in its appeal that domestic legal remedies have been exhausted.
The Constitutional Court reviewed on Dec. 12 separate appeals on the same issue delivered by the Chamber of Architects, the Chamber of Landscape Architects, the Chamber of Urban Planners, the Chamber of Environmental Engineers, and the Chamber of Agricultural Engineers of Turkey. It ultimately decided to reject the appeals.
According to Tezcan Karakuş Candan, the head of the Chamber of Architects of Ankara, the Constitutional Court’s ruling is not legal, but “political.”
“We will carry the struggle for the Atatürk Forest Farm to the European Court of Human Rights,” Candan vowed, adding that they will follow up the issue to the end so that “those responsible for violating universal legal principles can be tried before international courts.”
“A violation of law [with the presidential palace] is obvious and the decision has been made politically. The top court has become a partner in this unlawfulness,” he also said.
The new palace was built by the order of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on a part of the Atatürk Forest Farm in the Beştepe neighborhood of Ankara. The complex, inaugurated in October, officially cost at least $615 million, although authorities recently declined to divulge the full cost on the grounds that this move “could hurt the economy.”
Construction of the palace had continued despite a preventive court order, as well as an expert view that stipulated the protection of the area, citing a violation of the principles of urban planning, ecology and science.