The construction of a $615-million, 1,150-room palace for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been declared “illegal” by the country’s top administrative court.
Ankara’s Fifth Administrative Court overturned a previous ruling that permitted an exception to build “White Palace” on protected land, UPI reported on Wednesday. Erdogan moved into the luxurious residence last year.
The palace was built in an area of 300,000 square meters in an environmentally protected nature preserve called the Ataturk Forest Farm.
According to Turkey’s Chamber of Architects, following the overturning the construction of the palace is now deemed illegal.
“The construction plans, the protection board’s decisions, and the construction licenses, which allowed the illegal construction are completely unlawful at the moment after this verdict,” said a Chamber of Architects statement.
During the construction of the palace various legal petitions were circulated, all of which noted that the palace was being built on protected ground.
A cultural center, another presidential residence, and some other buildings are also slated for construction at the site but it is still unclear if the recent court ruling will affect the additional construction as the president’s office has denied all claims on the ruling via a statement released on Wednesday.
According to the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman, a Turkish court ordered last year that the construction of the palace be halted, but then-Prime Minister Erdogan challenged the court decision, saying, "If they have the power, let them destroy it.”