CHP candidate's claims on former municipal administrations in Istanbul falsified

Published 29.05.2019 00:14
People walk near Istanbul's Golden Horn, with the iconic Galata Tower visible in the background, Aug. 14, 2018.
People walk near Istanbul's Golden Horn, with the iconic Galata Tower visible in the background, Aug. 14, 2018.

While the main opposition has been building its campaign strategy on accusations against the former AK Party administrations in Istanbul, official documents and reports prove that the reality is different

Following the Supreme Election Council's (YSK) decision for the renewal of the Istanbul mayoral elections, both People's Alliance candidate Binali Yıldırım and Nation Alliance candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu have been preparing for a close race once again. While Yıldırım bases his campaign on projects in Istanbul, İmamoğlu has mostly targeted the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB), making claims against the former İBB administrations. Despite the claims, however, documents and reports released by the municipality and other state bodies paint a different picture. One of these claims suggested that the municipality's debts have increased 4.5 times, while the budget deficit has increased 20 times in the last five years. However, municipality records show that the debt in 2019 is only 3.34 times more than the debt in 2014.

Meanwhile, it was claimed that 1,717 official cars were provided to 643 executives working at the municipality. However, the actual number of official cars provided by the municipality was 120.

Another claim about official cars suggested that 124 executives working at the Istanbul Water and Sewerage Administration (İSKİ) have 874 official cars. Official records prove that 132 executives at the İSKİ have 132 official cars, one for each official in question.

Founded in 1981, İSKİ is İBB's public utility corporation with an independent budget. The managerial board of the administration where the mayor of Istanbul is the board chairman is the Metropolitan Municipality Council. The general director of İSKİ is elected upon the proposal of the metropolitan municipality mayor and approved by the Minister of Interior Affairs.

It has a total of 6,626 staff, including 3,958 workers and 2,668 officers, with a majority of these having a technical background. A great majority of the income of the administration comes from water sales. Most of the investments are conducted through this income. İSKİ currently has 4,901,405 subscribers.

The opposition also claimed that the total loss of the municipality was TL 753 million according to audit reports. The actual figure is TL 108,313.

Contrary to claims suggesting 150 official cars provided to 48 executives of Istanbul's public transport body İETT, a total of 76 executives have 76 official cars.

To meet Istanbul's transportation needs, the Istanbul Electric Tram and Tunnel Company (IETT) runs a huge network all over the city, carrying millions of people every day.

Istanbul's buses and metrobuses are the largest means of public transportation in the city. The IETT operates a total of 3,000 buses, operated by 5,000 drivers every day, including 600 metrobuses that haul passengers between the two sides of the city.

In addition to the claims listed above, the opposition says the financial resources of the municipality were systemically allocated to various foundations and organizations including the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) related organizations, companies and foundations close to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the Archers Foundation and Başakşehir Football Club. However, official documents and reports falsify all these claims.

Istanbul is Turkey's most important city and the party that wins the elections here is considered as having won the majority across the country. According to official records, Istanbul has a population of nearly 15 million, which represents nearly 20 percent of Turkey's population. Connecting Asia and Europe, Istanbul is the most populous city in Europe. In addition, Istanbul's economy is responsible for 27 percent of Turkey's gross domestic product (GDP), with 20 percent of the country's industrial labor forces residing in the city.

In the local elections held on March 27, 1994, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected the mayor of Istanbul with the Welfare Party (RP). Since 2003, when the AK Party attended its first local elections following its establishment, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has been governed by the AK Party. During the AK Party era, Istanbul has rapidly developed with megaprojects and infrastructure investments.

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