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Turkish minister admits owning illegally constructed hotels

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Mehmet Ersoy, Turkey’s minister of culture and tourism, admitted that he owns illegally constructed hotels, in an interview that appeared in the Hürriyet newspaper on Tuesday.

During the interview Ersoy was asked if he had applied to obtain registration documents for his hotels in order to benefit from what is referred to as “construction amnesty.”

“I guess there were some [irregularities] in my hotels. So I applied for all of them. It is a big advantage. Why would I miss out on it?” Ersoy said in response.

Ersoy further suggested that the regulation is a “nice gesture” on the part of the state since the fees only correspond to about half of the seasonal profit generated by his hotels.

Construction amnesty is legislation that aims to generate revenue for the state by granting registration documents that render legal buildings that were constructed without a permit in exchange for a specified fee.

In May of this year, through a regulation passed in parliament, even illegal structures built on municipal land were included within the scope of the amnesty.

The latest construction amnesty campaign, which applies to structures built before the end of 2017, was launched on June 8, with its deadline already postponed twice.

According to the latest announcement, some 9 million people have applied to benefit from the legislation, generating TL 7.5 billion ($1.4 billion) in revenue for the state.

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