(Washington, D.C.) — The Turkish Democracy Project (TDP) has called on American multinational real estate services company Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) to assess its interests in Turkey and commercial ties to the Turkish construction and real estate industry, a sector pivotal to the AKP party’s entrenched corruption.
In Fall 2021, TDP initiated a campaign calling on international companies to cease their associations with corrupt Turkish construction industry actors. These include members of Turkey’s influential ‘gang of five’, oligarchs known to have profited from the regime’s kleptocratic practices at the expense of the country’s economic, environmental and social welfare.
TDP’s research identified relationships between JLL and several firms within Turkey’s dubious construction and commercial property system. In May 2021, JLL partnered with CZNBURAK – a company that allegedly enjoys a warm public relationship with President Erdogan. JLL lists 17 commercial properties within its Turkish real estate division, including office and retail buildings. In 2015, JLL broadened its portfolio by acquiring the leading Turkish shopping center management company, AVM Partners.
The Turkish construction and real estate industries have been increasingly plagued by corruption under President Erdogan and the AKP. Key business allies lending unwavering political and financial backing to the regime have been rewarded with inflated non-competitive tenders. In turn, they have provided Erdogan with the resources needed to strengthen his authoritarian grip over all aspects of Turkish society.
Having identified extensive legal and ethical risks in JLL’s business interests in Turkey, especially through its association with the construction industry, TDP sent a letter on December 9, 2021, to the company’s CEO, Christian Ulbrich.
Commenting on JLL’s lack of response, Ambassador Mark Wallace, CEO of the Turkish Democracy Project said:
“TDP calls on JLL to urgently assess its interests in and ties to the Turkish construction and real estate industries. These sectors enable Turkish oligarchs to profit through a rigged tender system, and lends political and financial support to President Erdogan as he tightens his grip over the Turkish people. JLL must abide by the highest ethical standards. This is impossible while benefiting from investment in the corrupt Turkish construction industry.”