Turkey to remove land register query authority after Kanal Istanbul land purchases

Turkey's Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation and General Directorate of Land Registers have decided to withdraw a protocol that allows municipalities to query land register following a spat over real estate purchases along the path of Kanal Istanbul project, Cumhuriyet reported on Wednesday.

"The authority to query natural and legal entities, land register, shareholder and landowner, given to municipalities, decided to be abolished on July 1, 2020," Cumhuriyet quoted Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation's statement as saying.

And, the authority will be delivered to the ministry, the newspaper said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, ahead of the 2011 general elections, vowed to build a 45 kilometres long, 400m wide canal between the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea on the European side of the city, however, construction has not begun on the project, which has drawn heavy criticism due to its environmental and economic costs. 

Meanwhile, the project drew harsh criticism from opposition figures after reports emerged that members of the royal family of Turkey's all Qatar stood to make huge profits from buying up land around the project area.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu earlier said he would investigate real estate purchases along the path of Kanal Istanbul.

Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the mother of Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has purchased 4.4 hectares of land along the route of Kanal Istanbul through a company established in Turkey.