Istanbul set to elect new mayor after Topbaş suddenly resigns

Istanbul set to elect new mayor after Topbaş suddenly resigns

Turkey's most populated city, Istanbul, will elect its next mayor on Sept. 28 after its long-standing mayor Kadir Topbaş unexpectedly resigned last week. Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Monday that the city's municipal council dominated by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will pick "one of the district mayors of Istanbul" for the job. Mevlüt Uysal, mayor of the city's fast developing Başakşehir district, is tapped for the unenviable job, according to media outlets.

Topbaş, who was first elected to office in 2004, has been in office since then, winning successive elections, reflecting the AK Party's overwhelming victories in municipal elections in more than a decade. An architect by profession, he is credited with the rapid development of Istanbul, unprecedented since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's tenure as the city's mayor in the 1990s and creating a large mass transit network. His successful run as mayor of the city's Beyoğlu district from 1999 to 2004 granted him a nomination from the AK Party in the 2004 elections. In 2010, he was elected as the head of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), an international body of municipalities, a post he occupied for six years.

However, he has had his fair share of criticism as well after his son-in-law was accused of links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) blamed for last year's coup attempt. Recently, Topbaş was at odds with the city council over his opposition to new zoning plans for the city of 14.8 million people. In a vague statement at a press conference last week, Topbaş announced he would step down from office though he did not give an exact reason and underlined that he would continue serving the AK Party.

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