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Turkey's presidential palace illegally built, court says

An exception to building the palace on an environmentally protected area was reversed.

By Ed Adamczyk
Turkey's presidential palace illegally built, court says
A conference hall within the Ankara, Turkey, presidential palace. On Tuesday, May 26, 2015 the Turkish President's newly-built, $615 million 1,150-room palace, was declared illegally constructed by the country's highest administrative court. Photo courtesy of Russian Presidential Press and Information Office.

ANKARA, Turkey, May 27 (UPI) -- The Turkish President's newly-built, $615 million, 1,150-room palace was declared illegally constructed by the country's highest administrative court.

The "White Palace," into which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan moved in 2014, was built on protected land, the environmentally protected nature preserve known as the Ataturk Forest Farm. An exception to a law, removing the land's protections and allowing the palace to be built, was overturned by the Ankara Fifth Administrative Court Tuesday. That made construction of the elaborate palace illegal, the country's Chamber of Architects, which joined the suit, said.

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The ostentatious palace in Ankara, which is built on a 300,000 square meter (3.2 million square feet) site, opened to considerable acclaim by the government and criticism from Erdogan's opponents. Legal petitions were circulated by various groups during the construction, noting the palace was being built on protected ground.

A presidential residence, a mosque and a cultural center remain to be built at the complex. It is unclear if Tuesday's court action will impact additional construction.

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