The Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) Ankara mayor candidate, Mehmet Özhaseki, has promised to actualize world-class projects in the capital if he is elected in the March 31 elections.
"I am striving for new projects that would be the first of their kind in the world. Ankara deserves this. The type of governance we will implement in Ankara and the projects we will put forward will set examples for the 81 provinces," Özhaseki told the Yeni Şafak newspaper yesterday.
Discussing some of his ideas, Özhaseki said they already had plans for some 111 projects, including subway and public transportation systems. He thought the two would be the most expensive and long-running projects. "The most exciting project would be the children's village and culture road," he said. In one of his previous interviews, Özhaseki said that he is not too excited for the infrastructural projects including the subway, stadium and dam projects because he already has considerable experience in such endeavors.
Rather he stated, he is excited for the Children Village Project, of which the only example is found in Canada. Özhaseki had stressed that children can participate in 100 different activities including science centers and small car roads within the 1 million meters square village.
The subway project connecting the city center and Ankara Esenboğa airport is regarded as one of the projects on the forefront since it will help ease the commute of travelers by saving time on a 25-kilometer stretch of road to the airport. Some of the projects previously presented by Özhaseki were: The reconstruction of the May19 Stadium, which can hold 55,000 audience members, a ski resort in the Elmadağ district and the completion of the Ankara exhibition center.
He stressed that all the districts of Ankara should be served equally. Özhaseki said that they would provide infrastructure and other services to all the districts regardless of their population. "We would do the same for district municipalities run by opposition party mayors," he said.
He said that they would adopt the type of governance that is transparent and righteous. He added that the AK Party would keep municipalities in check to make sure they are fulfilling promises and acting in line with party principles that prioritize serving people regardless of their political preferences.
He noted that municipalities should not make a decision without consulting the local people and underlined that Ankara would be governed with the active participation of its inhabitants.
Özhaseki is a former environment and urban planning minister, who now serves as a deputy from central Kayseri province and AK Party vice chairman in charge of local administrations. He held the Kayseri mayor's office for more than 20 years and is experienced in urban development and management.
About the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) decision to cooperate with the pro-PKK People's Democratic Party (HDP) in the election, Özhaseki said that the CHP, including its secular voter base, will not be able to justify their decision to Turkish citizens.
On a similar note, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sunday, "We shall talk frankly. The HDP equals the PKK. The YPG [the People's Protection Units] equals the PKK."
Commenting on the alliance between the AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Erdoğan said that both parties share the same interests and values for the future. He added that the alliance would not be temporary and persist until the end.
Ahead of the June 24 presidential and general elections, the MHP and the AK Party formed the People's Alliance. It clinched a majority in Parliament, while their presidential candidate, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, won the election with 52.6 percent of the votes.
Both AK Party and MHP leaders have put emphasis on the alliance's main goal, which is to preserve national security in the face of internal and foreign threats. They have decided to continue their cooperation even after the local elections.
Vice President Fuat Oktay also highlighted Sunday that there is no secret bargaining going on behind closed doors in the People's Alliance, unlike the alliance between the CHP and HDP.