Land on protected Istanbul island sold to Saudi prince opened to construction
ISTANBULA patch of land in a protected island on the Marmara Sea off Istanbul bought by Saudi Prince Sattam Bin Abdelaziz, the late brother of the Saudi king and former governor of Riyadh, will be opened to construction following the intervention of civil servants in Ankara, Turkish media reported Dec. 25.
The Saudi prince bought nearly one acre of land on Sedef Island, one of the smallest of the Prince’s Islands, during a visit to Istanbul in 2011.
But the local municipality on the islands refused to allow the construction of a mansion on the largely untouched island, which is mostly uninhabited except during the summer, arguing that the area was labeled a natural site.
However, daily Vatan reported that the Environment Ministry had given the necessary permit bypassing the law for the construction of the mansion by the prince’s family.
Controversy was stirred five years ago over a possible change to the island’s status to allow the construction of luxury houses and villas, but no steps have been undertaken since.
The Saudi Prince bought the land from the descendants of Ahmed Fethi Paşa, a renowned Ottoman marshal and ambassador who lived during the first half of the 19th century.
The report said the construction was set to begin soon and that the mansion would be completed in summer.
The rest of the island, which is located right across Burgazada and Heybeliada, 20 minutes from the Asian side of Istanbul, still remains off-limits to construction. There are only houses on the island and around 400 people live there during summer.