Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has canceled a decision to hand five under-construction buildings to a pro-government youth service, the left-wing Birgun daily newspaper reported on Thursday.
The buildings had been due to be handed to the pro-government Turkey Youth and Education Service Foundation (TURGEV).
The move followed the halting of a total of 357 million lira ($62 million) of resources that were due to be given or transferred by the municipality to foundations, including TURGEV, that are close to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his family.
TURGEV, which was founded by Erdogan when he was mayor of Istanbul in the 1990s, was also one of the five foundations that the municipality recently annulled its protocol agreements with.
The foundation’s current board members include Erdogan’s daughter Esra Albayrak, who is also the wife of Turkey’s Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, and former Istanbul Municipality Mayor Mevlut Uysal from his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
According to a report by Ismail Sari from Birgun, the municipality has spent more than 171 million lira ($29 million) to the five buildings in the Kucukcekmece, Bagcilar, Uskudar, Beyoglu and Besiktas districts, that were being built to be used as TURGEV dormitories.
“This is only the beginning,” Ekrem Imamoglu, Istanbul’s new mayor from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said earlier this week in reference to his first step taken against Erdogan, the cancellation of the pro-government foundation funds.
According to an audit report made public by CHP, a total of 847,592,858 lira (around $145 million) was transferred to the foundations affiliated with Erdogan and his family by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality within the and a half years before the March 31 local government elections.
Imamoglu garnered more than 54 percent of the votes in the June 23 mayoral election re-run, which followed AKP’s appeals against the results of the March 31 local elections in Istanbul, and won the mayoral seat with a landslide victory against the ruling party daily newspaper.