Former employee outbids Istanbul municipality in train terminal tenders
A company belonging to a former employee of the Istanbul municipality, who has links to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's family, submitted a bid tripling that of the Istanbul municipality for a tender on the 15-year rental of Istanbul’s two symbolic terminals as cultural centres, Duvar news site reported on Friday.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will announce in two weeks the results of the tender for Haydarpaşa railway station, which was shut down in 2013 for a major upgrade, and Sirkeci terminal, which has also been shut down due to the underwater commuter rail Marmaray.
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) joined the tender by establishing a consortium between its four subsidiaries and offered a monthly rent of 100,000 lira ($17,553) for using both spaces as a culture and entertainment centres. Its rival Hazerfan Consultancy proposed a monthly 300,000 lira ($52,658) to rent two former railway stations for 15 years.
Hazerfan is owned by Hüseyin Avni Önder, the former president of Okçular (Archers) Foundation, a project of Erdoğan's son, Bilal Erdoğan. Önder, who in the past worked in the Istanbul municipality and was a member of the Ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) youth branch, founded his company in 2017.
The head of the Turkish railways objected to Istanbul’s Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu’s plans to submit a bid in the tender last month on the grounds that the municipality’s participation could discourage private companies to submit bids.
İmamoğlu said on Friday that they would be following the tender in the name of 16 million people living in Istanbul.
“Whatever the price, those places belong to the people of Istanbul,” he said.