18 C
Frankfurt am Main

Turkish gov’t illegally allowed destruction of Ottoman-era mansion on Bosporus: journalist

Must read

A historic Ottoman-era mansion on the Bosporus has been illegally demolished under the supervision of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government, according to a journalist who investigated the case.

The mansion, known as “Şehzade Burhaneddin Efendi Yalısı,” was an 18th century wooden residence in İstanbul’s Yeniköy district, bought by Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II for his son Şehzade Mehmed Burhaneddin, hence the name.

It was one of the last remaining mansions from the Ottoman era on the Bosporus and was considered a national treasure.

The mansion was sold in 2015 for 100 million euros to a newly founded Turkish company owned by Qatari businessman Abdulhadi Mana Al-Hajri.

Before its destruction, the mansion was enclosed by a scaffolding to obstruct it from view and is now being completely rebuilt. This was reported by investigative journalist Cevheri Güven on his personal Patreon page and in a video on his YouTube channel with photos and eyewitness accounts.

Güven reports that an underground tunnel is being built on the site to connect the mansion to two neighboring pavilions in violation of the law.

Although the purchase was made in 2015 by the Qatari-owned company, Güven reports, citing insider knowledge, that it was acquired by President Erdoğan’s family.

The mansion, located on the banks of İstanbul’s Bosporus Strait in İstanbul’s Yeniköy district, was listed as the world’s fourth most expensive residence in 2014, according to a Forbes report titled ‘The Most Expensive Billionaire Homes In The World.’ The dream house covers 5,800 square meters of land and has 64 rooms.

After the Turkish Republic was founded in 1923, the government expelled the royal family, which had to give up all its property. The mansion was then bought by an Egyptian citizen of Turkish origin, whose family sold it to Turkish contractor Ahmet Erbilgin in 1984.

Thanks to Erbilgin’s efforts, the building was restored and kept in excellent condition.
Due to its status as a historic monument, only experts authorized by the Turkish Monuments Authority were allowed to carry out renovations or maintenance on the building.

If the building was indeed completely demolished, as the photos shared by Güven suggest, it would be the first deliberate destruction of a historic mansion on the Bosporus that was not caused by war or fire. The demolition violates several laws, including those protecting the scenic beauty of the Bosporus and historic artifacts.

However, the representatives of the construction company claim to have obtained all the necessary permits for the new construction.

Local residents who spoke to Güven claim that the construction on the property and in the adjacent pavilions is frequently visited by President Erdoğan’s son-in-law Berat Albayrak and Erdoğan himself. Güven’s sources indicate that the pavilions have been extensively renovated, with one serving as an office and the other as a residence for Albayrak and his wife, Erdoğan’s daughter Esra.

The pro-government Daily Sabah reported in 2015 that the mansion indeed had a secret buyer, but said that Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, the emir of Qatar, was the actual owner.

However, given the extensive work on the grounds and the eyewitness accounts of visits by Albayrak and Erdoğan, Daily Sabah’s story could have been an attempt by the government to conceal Erdoğan’s ownership.

Despite the historic significance of the mansion and the controversy surrounding its demolition and reconstruction, the project will continue. According to Güven’s report, the mansion will serve as a residence for the Erdoğan family and will be equipped with high-security walls and windows.

Liked it? Take a second to support Turkish Minute on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!
More News
Latest News