Turkey government refutes allegations of corruption in Istanbul Canal plans

Turkey's Environment and Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum denied allegations of corruption over newly-approved zoning plans for the land on the route of Istanbul Canal on Tuesday, a shipping canal project designed to bypass Istanbul’s Bosporus waterway, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

"None of the zoning decisions was taken to create unearned income by taking individuals' profits into account," Kurum said in an interview with Anadolu.

"We sadly follow an ugly campaign by certain circles that distorts the plan notes of the project. There was no nepotism in the past, and there will not be any in the future," Kurum said.

The Turkish authorities issued zoning plans last week for land purchased by Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister and son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Berat Albayrak, and a company owned by mother of Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani along the route of Istanbul Canal.

Both lots were registered as farmland, now the lots are designated as a trade and tourism area. Earlier reports alleged that the land's value nearly quintupled with new zoning designations, citing experts.