The People's Alliance candidate for the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, Binali Yıldırım said that he plans to create more green spaces for people and develop new rail-based public transportation projects.
In an interview with private broadcaster NTV on Tuesday, Yıldırım introduced some of his projects for Istanbul and evaluated the main problems in the city. Yıldırım, who recently resigned as parliament speaker, said, "I will carry out a campaign that appeals to all of Istanbul," and stressed that providing services to everyone was paramount.
On his plans to create more green spaces, Yıldırım said they plan to create some 20 green corridors, which will have a combined length of 398 kilometers. "Currently, there are 55.5 million square meters of green nets in Istanbul," Yıldırım said, adding that with the additional nets more green areas will be created. He said that more trees will be planted along the corridors. "The narrowest part of the corridor would not be less than 15 meters. There will be walking trails and bicycle tracks."
In regards to one of Istanbul's main problems, traffic, Yıldırım said that they have a number of projects that will make the Istanbul traffic "bearable." "The solution is a rail system," he said.
"In Istanbul, over 15 million people travel by car, while 15 million travel on their own," Yıldırım said, adding that few people use public transportation.
Pointing to the importance of subways and light rail systems, Yıldırım said: "In five years, we will increase the share of rail systems [in public transportation] to 48 percent. It means that there will be a 518-kilometer rail transport system and the share of roads will be 48 percent."
Yıldırım said that people would give up using cars and prefer public transportation if they are accessible. He added that the rail system and subway lines should be spread all across Istanbul.
Yıldırım will run as the candidate of the People's Alliance formed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The AK Party and the MHP first decided to form a political alliance for the general and presidential elections on June 24, 2018. The alliance won 340 seats in Parliament, 290 for the AK Party and 50 for the MHP, while their presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won the election with 52.6 percent of the vote. For the upcoming local elections, the two parties have decided to continue their alliance. After months of consultations, Yıldırım's nomination for the Istanbul mayor's office was announced by Erdoğan on Dec. 29. He has long been regarded as the most prominent name for Istanbul, a city where the party that wins the elections is considered as having won a majority across Turkey. Yıldırım became Turkey's last prime minister in May 2016 before the April 16 constitutional referendum in 2017 envisaged a new executive presidential system and abolished the prime minister's office.
In relation to buildings that create visual pollution and undermine the aesthetics of the city, Yıldırım said it is critical since these buildings are not constructed in line with the city planning. He added that if elected he will take steps regarding urban renewal that will also contribute to low-rise urbanization.