Incriminated Turk signs $600m contract in Baghdad

Vehbi Orakçı, a former mayor of Istanbul’s Beylikdüzü district, previously jailed for five months over his running of a crime syndicate, has signed a $600m deal for a 6,500-building construction project in Baghdad. Orakçı has abandoned his political career and returned to his construction business following his release from prison.

“The project includes nearly 6,500 buildings, 325 offices, 325 residential apartments and a 60,000 square-meter shopping center. The total cost is $600 million, but the sales volume is expected to be $1 billion,” said Orakçı, speaking to Hurriyet.

Orakçı’s company is currently also working on another $150m project in Karbala, which includes 1,260 villas with infrastructure such as roads and cultural centers, on a 660,000 m2 site.

“Think of a country, where 40m people have not had the opportunity to buy a house for years. Even if just 1% of this population is wealthy, that is 400,000 people. That is who we are targeting. Iraq currently needs three million residences,” said Orakçı.

Vehbi Orakçı was a mayor from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). He continues to claim his innocence, and that he was the victim of a conspiracy between rival businessmen and the police force.