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Erdoğan blames capitalism for destruction of nature in Turkey

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday directed attention to the increasing destruction of the country’s abundant natural areas by people seeking to make money and put the blame on capitalism.

Addressing a group in his lavish palace with more than 1,000 rooms, Erdoğan warned against people who are trying to turn coastlines and forests into concrete.

Less than a month ago some 20 citizens who own property on Turkey’s pristine Okluk Bay received letters from the government offering compensation for the expropriation of their land for an extension to the presidential summer residence in Muğla province.

Despite the ongoing construction of a new palace for himself at the expense of the area’s natural features, Erdoğan said money is capable of many things, and so is capitalism. It destroys forests, he said, adding that some people are only interested in making money by constructing multi-storey buildings and don’t care about nature at all.

Erdoğan also said people who destroy green spaces in Turkey give Manhattan as an example. “May your Manhattan be ruined,“ Erdoğan said in an effort to express his disapproval of taking Manhattan as a model. “People who live there [Manhattan] are not happy,” Erdoğan claimed and recommended a model that keeps people connected to the soil.

Mehmet Ersoy, Turkey’s minister of culture and tourism, recently admitted that he owns illegally constructed hotels. During an 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.”

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.

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