Cemetery plots for sale in Istanbul for $264,000 on black market

Cemetery plots for sale in Istanbul for $264,000 on black market

ISTANBUL - Demirören News Agency
Cemetery plots for sale in Istanbul for $264,000 on black market

People have started selling cemetery plots on the black market for prices as high as 2 million Turkish Liras ($264,000), as finding graves in Istanbul, a metropolis where 70,000 people die every year on average, has become increasingly difficult.

Normally, the official price of a cemetery plot would be between 100 and 37,400 Turkish Liras ($13 and $4900) depending on the area where the cemetery is and the location of the grave.

But cemeteries in central Istanbul are filling up to reach the 100 percent capacity.

Officials have said the “opportunists” are now in action to make use of this situation, stressing that some people are trying to sell their own or inherited grave sites on the black market.

Especially online advertisements for graves in the Karacaahmet, Zincirlikuyu, Aşiyan and Edirnekapı cemeteries are “in high demand.” The cemeteries are located in central Istanbul.

One resident reportedly posted an advert on a famous e-commerce site, saying they had a 17-meter-square plot in Zincirlikuyu available for 2 million liras.

Another one advertised their grave, saying the plot was surrounded by greenery.

But the head of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s cemeteries department said graves cannot be sold.

“People think they can sell their grave sites to a third party. They cannot. Because the official document they have for a grave site is not a deed, it is a license to use,” said Ayhan Koç, the head of the department.

“Only he or she or their heirs can use that grave site. We, as the cemeteries department do not give permission to such sales,” noted Koç.

“If someone does not want to use that plot, the only thing that can do is to donate the site to our department,” he added.