The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) mayoral candidate for the capital Ankara, Mehmet Özhaseki presented projects yesterday to highlight the overlooked natural, cultural and religious features of the province, as well as medical and academic institutions, saying that Ankara is more than a capital.
Özhaseki met with Ankara representatives of the media to announce his projects in 11 subjects, including culture, arts, tourism, sports, development and social and environment, for the capital city of Ankara in the March 31 local elections.
"We pursue people's joy while living in this city. We are not focusing only on development projects but also social, environmental, cultural projects that are much more human oriented" Özhaseki said, underlining that all the projects for Ankara will be focusing on the needs and expectations on a human basis.
One of Özhaseki's major projects for the capital city is an "awake library" for students who are in need of a place to study in peace which is open for 24 hours. He said on the matter that he will work on providing students with services like fresh soup delivery and laundry cleaning in places close to schools.
Reconstruction of the May 19 Stadium, which will be able to host 55,000 fans, the ski resort in the Elmadağ district, the completion of the Ankara exhibition center, the children's village and a new subway from the city center to the airport were also among the projects announced by Özhaseki.
Expressing that he will combine the tasks of developing a vision of change in urban management worldwide, Özhaseki also said that responding to the needs of the city's inhabitants will be the main target. "We have followed the changes in urban management in the world. We prepared our projects based on people's needs and expectations. If you cannot read the change properly and you don't have a vision to implement it, you cannot be compatible with other cities in the world," said Özhaseki while he was summarizing his vision.
Özhaseki was the former environment and urban planning minister, who now serves as deputy from central Kayseri province and as AK Party's vice chairman in charge of local administrations.
Serving as the mayor of Kayseri for 20 years, Özhaseki stated that he is experienced in urban development and management in all aspects. "If I become a mayor of Ankara I will be consulting every layer of the society as I did when I was a mayor of Kayseri" he reiterated.
Alliance with MHP for continuation of Turkey
Carrying out the alliance talks with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) as well, Özhaseki said that they have never been in bargained in a way that ignores the people's choice. "We have been receiving an enormous amount of support from the MHP and never been in a clash over the candidates for local elections. We as both parties, only care about Turkey's continuation. We both want terror-related factions such as the Gülenist Terror Group [FETÖ] and the PKK to be eliminated from this election," Özhaseki added.
Ahead of the June 24 elections the MHP and AK Party formed the People's Alliance and received a majority in Parliament, while their presidential candidate, incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also won the election by 52.6 percent of the vote. Since both parties consider the results of the June 24 elections as successful, they now seek to continue their alliance in the local elections.
Now the alliance has decided to support each other's candidates in specified cities and provinces.
The Ankara electorate mostly consists of a conservative-nationalist voter base that has been pushing political parties to lean toward candidates on this end of the political spectrum. The AK Party has controlled Ankara since its candidate Melih Gökçek, a municipal mogul who had been mayor of the province between 1994 and 2017, triumphed against the renowned social democratic politician Murat Karayalçın in 2004 with 55 percent of votes against 20.8 percent. The two competed in the 2009 local elections again and Gökçek clinched another victory with 38.5 percent votes while Karayalçın got 31.3 percent.
The 2014 election in Ankara was a tight race, with Gökçek emerging victorious with 44.9 percent of the votes, compared to 43.8 percent of Republican People's Party's (CHP) Mansur Yavaş, the former mayor of Beypazarı district who was a member of the MHP.