Battal İlgezdi, the mayor of Istanbul's Ataşehir district embattled with corruption allegations, was suspended from office by the Interior Ministry Friday.
Anadolu Agency (AA) reported that İlgezdi, a mayor from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), was removed from his post "due to investigations carried out by Interior Ministry inspectors."
The ownership of 15 luxurious flats in two skyscrapers by the mayor and his wife Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi, a lawmaker from the CHP, in a posh building called Buz Residence had created controversy and raised questions of how they accumulated their wealth.
The mayor denied the allegations when they first surfaced in 2015 and asked the prosecutor's office to "investigate" the claims against him. The İlgezdi couple was also accused of amassing a fortune through corruption and covering up their wrongdoings through threats.
Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi, who was appointed as the head of the municipality's health department shortly before her marriage to the mayor, was also accused of awarding public tenders to the companies she had ties with.
Media outlets had reported that the mayor was also involved in granting building permits and awarding lucrative tenders from the municipality to his friends and relatives.
Quoting an Interior Ministry statement, Doğan News Agency said İlgezdi violated multiple laws regarding corruption and fraud and abused his duty. The ministry's statement said confirmed reports about the mayor awarding tenders to friends and former business associates, granting permits to buildings - owned or built by people close to the mayor - not compliant with zoning regulations, and suspicious acquisitions of a large number of properties by İlgezdi's relatives who do not have the financial means to acquire the expensive properties. The ministry said a criminal investigation was already being held by local prosecutors.