Fatih mayor accused of risking Marmaray safety for money
Fatih Mayor Mustafa Demir, the mayor of the historical Istanbul district, and a number of high-ranking municipal officials, were among those detained Dec. 17 as part of the corruption operation. DHA photoFatih Mayor Mustafa Demir has been accused of giving the go-ahead to construction that threatened the Marmaray’s safety in exchange for money, according to allegations that have emerged as part of a three-pronged bribery probe into some of Turkey’s most powerful people.
Demir, the mayor of the historical Istanbul district, and a number of high-ranking municipal officials, were among those detained Dec. 17 as part of the corruption operation.
Along with a number of bribery claims, Demir is accused of permitting the construction of a hotel near the route of the recently inaugurated railway crossing under the Bosphorus, the Marmaray, putting the tunnel at risk of collapse.
According to claims, Gazi Akmercan, owner of the Akmercanlar Construction firm, applied to Fatih Municipality in 2012 to get permission for the construction of a hotel above the Marmaray’s Sirkeci stop.
After the hotel’s construction began, Japanese engineers working on the Marmaray and the Transportation Ministry warned the municipality in a report that the construction could damage the Marmaray tunnel with vibration because it was within 50 meters.
Demir is accused of approving the construction license and ordering the ministry report to be shelved in exchange for bribes.
Some 32 people have also been detained over suspected links with an illegal organization allegedly led by the owner of the RCİ Arcitecture and Design Company, architect Sevinç Doğan.
The organization is accused of bribing public servants to acquire construction permits for protected historical areas and putting historical artifacts into a sack in Fatih, as well as in Beşiktaş and Sarıyer.
Demir is suspected of taking $1.5 million from Doğan in return for downgrading a first-degree historical region to second-degree, in a bid to allow construction at the site.
Doğan allegedly tried to speed up the process by meeting with the Fatih mayor’s brother, Sebahattin Demir.