Minister’s purchase opens up controversy

Minister’s purchase opens up controversy

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Minister’s purchase opens up controversy

Minister Kılıç’s purchase of a house currently valued at 300,000 TL for only 25,000 TL sparks controversy. AA photo

Ankara’s Altındağ Municipality’s restoration project for historic houses sparked controversy after it was revealed that Sports Minister Suat Kılıç purchased a house currently valued at 300,000 TL for only 25,000 TL.

Adding fuel to the fire, the daily Cumhuriyet revealed that to complete the transaction, Kılıç gave power of attorney to Alparslan Ekinci, the Altındağ Municipality Protection of Historic Areas branch chief, who headed the restoration project.

One historic Ankara house and a separate plot of land were purchased by Kılıç in 2009 from Erbil Yiğitbaş, who has been identified by the daily Cumhuriyet as one of the Minister’s consultants. “I sold the property to [Kılıç]. It was for sale. No one else wanted it. There was a request, so we sold it,” Yiğitbaş told Cumhuriyet.

Asked about the power of attorney given to Ekinci, “I don’t know him,” said Yiğitbaş. “I just sold the house.”

The transaction of property was conducted ethically according to market rules, said Kılıç’s lawyer, adding that the minister purchased the house with his own money, and restored it for personal use. Kılıç’s “political identity” was not used anytime during the transaction, which took place before the municipality’s restoration project was launched, his lawyer said.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Levent Gök held a press conference in Parliament last week, calling on Kılıç to resign for his “unethical behavior,” pointing out that the wooden house he purchased for 25,000 TL in 2009 is now valued at 300,000 TL.

Gök claimed that Kılıç was in contact with the municipality, and was thus able to buy the property cheaply before prices increased following the restorations. Gök gave reporters a document from Belso, a company working for the municipality, which showed that Kılıç’s wife was a board member. “Board members are appointed by the mayor of the municipality,” Gök said. “Is that ethical?”As part of the project, the Altındağ Municipality announced in 2009 that all historic houses had to be restored, and that those that did not fit the “historic texture” of the neighborhood would be torn down.

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