Awaiting a fairy-tale ending

In a land far, far away - the city of Bolu in north-western Turkey, to be exact - hundreds of luxury houses sit in neat rows, their pointed towers somewhere between a French chateau and Disney castle.

Meant to provide luxury accommodation for foreign buyers, the houses are, however, standing empty in what is anything but a fairy tale for their investors.

The ambitious Burj Al Babas development by Sarot Group - which includes 732 chateau-style villas, swimming pools, Turkish baths, health and beauty centres, a shopping centre and a mosque - has been hit by regional turmoil and a slump in the Turkish construction industry.

According to the Hurriyet newspaper, customers from the Gulf countries bought 350 villas for between US$370,000 (S$500,000) and US$530,000.

However, the decision to apply for bankruptcy protection came after some of them could not pay for the villas they had bought, said Sarot's deputy chairman Mezher Yerdelen.

Despite this, he hopes the project will be inaugurated in October.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2019, with the headline 'Awaiting a fairy-tale ending'. Print Edition | Subscribe