The Turkish Union of Engineers and Architects’ Chambers (TMMOB) intends to take the Turkish government to the European Court of Human Rights for “illegally” constructing the lavish presidential palace on the Atatürk Forestry Farm (AOÇ), it announced on Monday.
The building was constructed over an area of 300,000 square metres of environmentally protected land, where building is not permitted.
Said to be the largest presidential palace in the world, AK Saray, as it is known, still remains the subject of Turkish domestic politics. The costs of building the 1,000 room palace, with lavish interiors, caused an outcry.
The head of the Ankara branch of TMMOB, Tezcan Karakus Canda said that then-Prime Minister Erdoğan had ignored a series of court orders to halt the building of the palace. His reponse had been, “Let them demolish it if they have enough power to do so. They ordered an injunction, but they will not be able to stop it. I will open it and I will sit in it.”
Candan said that, “All the domestic remedies have been exhausted. We were not the ones who were mistreated. It was the principles of the Republic of Turkey and the historicity of the Atatürk Forestry Farm. We are facing clear unlawfulness. It is very upsetting to see that we have nothing in hand even though all of the domestic remedies have been exhausted. We will therefore take the subject to the European Court of Human Rights.”
She also noted that Atatürk had donated the AOÇ to the state on the condition that it be left open for public use, and that therefore Atatürk’s will has been violated as the area is no longer being used publicly.