Turkey's Atatürk Forest Farm land sold to pro-government religious sect Menzil

555 thousand square meters of Atatürk Forest Farm land has been sold to the Medipol International Health Center affiliated to the Menzil religious sect known for its strong ties to the ruling AKP
Tuesday, 30 July 2019 11:24

A 555 thousand square-meter public land from the Atatürk Forest Farm (AOÇ) has been handed over to TEBA Foundation, the founder association of Medipol International Health Center known for its strong affiliation with the Menzil network, a Naqshbandi religious sect promoted under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) especially after the failed coup in 2016.

Speaking about the sale of the public land in Ankara to the Medipol Group, Tezcan Karakuş Candan, the President of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) Ankara Branch, said: "We are completely experiencing a period of pillage. They are going to destroy the Ankara Rail Terminal Complex, which is the gateway to the Republic, by handing it over to the Medipol International Health Center."

"Similarly, they will give 555 thousand square meters of AOÇ land, which is 3 km away from Bilkent City Hospital in Ankara, designated as the afforestation area, to the TEBA Foundation, the founder association of Medipol, or the Turkish Minister of Health", Karakuş added.


Stating that the AOÇ is the spatial value of the Republic, Karakuş also noted, "In this area, there is the Logistics Unit of the Air Force Command. First, they [authorities] said that they would build a stadium in this area. Then, they canceled the stadium project and declared it an urban transformation area. We filed a lawsuit against these steps."

"Yet, they surprisingly canceled the decision of urban transformation project once again. While it was the first-grade natural protected area, they changed its grade and made it a sustainable controlled area of utilization," she continued.

Karakuş stated that the authorities made this site a private university area by changing the plans at the end of 2018, and they handed it over to TEBA Foundation, in other words, to the Medipol International Health Center.

"Atatürk Forest Farm is the spatial expression of the founding values of the Republic entrusted by the founder of this country, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, to his people with its own core values and existence."

"The mindset looting the Atatürk Forest Farm plunders the Republic", Karakuş concluded.

The Menzil religious sect, which has strong ties to Medipol Group, is also known to lead the Ministry of Health in Turkey.

With the recent development, the sect has seized an important part of the Atatürk Forest Farm lands.


In August 2017, 37 thousand square meters of Atatürk Forest Farm land was sold to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara for the construction of a new embassy building.

AOÇ is a first-degree protected natural site and one of the early symbolic public spaces of the Republic of Turkey, dating back to 1920s. A significant part of AOÇ had already been destroyed with the construction of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s presidential palace, Ankara’s former Mayor Melih Gökçek’s extravagant amusement park project ‘Ankapark’, and Ankara boulevard running through the forest.

In 2014, 50 acres of AOÇ had been destroyed for the construction of a new presidential complex for the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan despite several court decisions for the termination of construction. Hence the palace is notoriously called "Kaçak Saray" in Turkish, meaning an "illegal palace".


Following the Turkish government’s attempts to purge the Gülen community from the state cadres especially after the failed July 15 coup in 2016, the ruling AKP has been in a serious effort to replace the official institutional positions with other religious sects close to the government. Many reports indicate that various cults and religious groups, including the Menzil movement, have become much stronger since the coup attempt in 2016.

Mahmut Tanal, İstanbul deputy from the parliamentary main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), had claimed in 2017 that the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice and especially the Ministry of Health in Turkey have been in the hands of the Menzil religious sect.

Stating that the members of the police department got references from the Menzil movement to be promoted, Tanal had said that the state cannot be governed by this kind of religious sects, preventing equality and state of law.

Last week, the so-called ‘Sheikh’ of the Menzil sect had inspected a hospital he built in Istanbul with his followers and doctors groveling to him.