Turkey's palace-builder wins coronavirus hospital contracts - report

Rönesans Holding, owned by Turkish billionaire Erman Ilıcak who built Turkey’s presidential palace, won the tenders for the construction two coronavirus hospitals in Istanbul, Medyascope news outlet reported on Wednesday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday announced two hospitals to be built in Istanbul as part of his government’s measures to combat the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

The hospitals, each with a 1000-bed capacity, will be built on plots at the Sancaktepe Military Airport and the now-defunct Atatürk Airport in Yeşilköy district, and are expected to be completed within 45 days.

But, the construction of Turkey's first emergency hospital in Yeşilköy district has started near the shuttered Istanbul Atatürk Airport rather than inside the airport area, Medyascope said.

Istanbul's opposition mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu objected the plan earlier, saying that it would be a mistake since the area was crowded with houses and had poor transport connections.

Meanwhile, the authorities started the construction without informing the local authorities that oversee the area.

"It's not about getting permission. We should have been informed at least about a 52-thousand-square-meter construction in our jurisdiction," the news outlet quoted an official from Bakırköy Municipality as saying.