A resident shows a piece of a meteorite that fell onto the ground in Sarıçiçek village of Bingöl. (Photo: DHA)
Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said on Friday that locals from the eastern province of Bingöl will not have to pay a tax on the sales of pieces of a meteorite that fell to the ground near a village there; however, outsiders who come to the area for commercial purposes to pick up and sell the meteorite will be taxed.
Şimşek made the announcement on his Twitter account after holding a poll on the site asking his followers whether they thought the sale of meteorite fragments should be taxed. More than 30,700 people answered Şimşek's question as of Friday afternoon, 72 percent of whom opposed the imposition of a tax.
Debates on whether the sale of the fragments should be taxed or not were fueled by reports that the residents of the village of Sarıçiçek had sold pieces of meteorite for more than TL 1 million in total after a meteor crashed in the area in September.
On Friday, Şimşek wrote, “The sale of meteorite [fragments] by Bingöl locals will not be taxed; however, people who come to the area from other cities for commercial purposes will be subject to the tax.”
The minister said he consulted the Revenues Administration (GİB) of the Ministry of Finance before making his decision.
Şimşek's poll on Twitter drew criticism from Twitter users, some of them saying, “Will you tax the stone sent by God?”
Sarıçiçek, with a population of 3,200, who mostly subsist on farming and sending workers to larger cities for seasonal labor, has seen an influx of wealth after being showered with the valuable stones.