The controversial decision by Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan to build a new presidential complex near Ankara continues to meet with outcry at home. On November 12 Alef website reported that Turkey’s Chamber of Architects has taken its opposition beyond national borders, asking Pope Francis not to go to the Ak Saray (White Palace) when he visits Turkey in late November. What you go through below is the translation of the report:
The Ankara branch of the Chamber of Architects has in a letter asked Pope Francis to turn down an invitation by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to go to his palace when he visits Turkey on November 28.
The leader of the Catholic Church is the first foreign guest Erdogan is to host in his new palace.
The Turkish architects have argued that the palace has been erected illegally and that the Pope should not legitimize the construction of the [sprawling] palace during his [three-day] stay.
The Chamber has also stressed in the message that it would send similar letters to heads of states, Ankara-based foreign embassies, and heads of international organizations urging them not to show up in the new presidential palace if and when they make a trip to Turkey.
The letter comes against a backdrop of fierce opposition to the gigantic palace by members of the public and environmentalists who say Erdogan has destroyed one of the few remaining green spaces in the capital to construct his mega mansion.
Several court orders blocking the project failed to halt the construction of the presidential palace [which was inaugurated on October 29 when Turkey celebrated the 91st anniversary of the Republic Day].