Numan Kurtulmuş, a leading figure in Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has been found to own land in a lucrative area that was opened to construction shortly after the building of a third airport in İstanbul, leading to speculation that he was tipped off in advance about the projected rise in value of the property.
The zoning for the area where the new airport and the third bridge in Istanbul were constructed had been changed in December 2018.
People who have insider information about upcoming major projects usually buy land in nearby areas in anticipation of sizeable gains.
The Sözcü daily reported on Wednesday that with the revisions in the zoning, the area, which was previously designated for agriculture and irrigation, is now open for the construction of hotels, residences and malls. The landowners in this area are expected to make significant profits for their previously less valuable land.
Kurtulmuş, before joining the AKP, was a harsh critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and had criticized the government for getting rich while in power as a result of corruption. However, he later became a devoted member of the government he criticized so fiercely.
In addition to Kurtulmuş, Ahmet Hamdi Çamlı, an AKP deputy who used to be Erdoğan’s chauffeur, also owns land in the lucrative area in İstanbul.