Turkey’s top court rules against regulation paving way for new Erdoğan palace

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled against a regulation allowing for construction in areas around the country, including the ancient town of Ahlat in the eastern province of Bitlis, where plans for a new presidential palace for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are underway.

The Turkish president announced plans for the construction of the palace in Ahlat last August.

Located near Lake Van, Ahlat is considered an open-air museum due to its Seljuk-era relics, including masonry and graveyards dating to the 12th century.

Ahlat Mayor Abdulalim Mümtaz Çoban in September said Erdoğan had given the command to start construction.

With a majority vote, the Constitutional Court cancelled a regulation introduced by Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development for construction permission in many coastal strips, left-wing newspaper Birgün reported on Wednesday.

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had objected to the regulation on the grounds that it would impede on the free access of the general public to said areas, while posing a threat to the environment and cultural and historic structures.

The court ruled that the regulation could lead to the violation of regulations protecting coastal regions and their surroundings, Birgün said.