- The Burj Al Babas in Turkey was designed as a luxury community for foreign buyers.
- As Turkey experiences an economic downturn, the project’s developers have filed for bankruptcy protection, and buyers have backed out of their purchases.
- The nation’s castle-like homes now sit empty in the northwestern region.
From far away, the Burj Al Babas could be confused for a diorama of miniature villas. The homes all look the same, their blue-grey steeples and Gothic fixtures calling to mind the castles in Disney films.
When the project first began in 2014, its developer, the Sarot Group, hoped the luxury aesthetic would appeal to wealthy foreign buyers. Now its homes sit empty at the base of Turkey’s northwestern mountains.
The villas are located near the small town of Mudurnu in Turkey’s northwestern region.
Buyers can purchase the homes for $400,000 to $500,000 each — a price tag that catered to a wealthier Middle Eastern clientele.
Of the more than 732 villas, about 350 were sold to Arab investors. Many of the sales have since fallen through.
The project’s architect told the Agence France-Presse that buyers were likely impacted by the decline in oil prices.
The fall of the Turkish economy is also to blame.
And Turkey has also been racked by political turmoil.
Economic analysts have criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s excessive spending on infrastructure projects, which required borrowing from foreign banks.
As the value of the lira plummeted, foreign investors began to pull out of the projects, which led to a downturn in the construction industry.