AKP mayors have better means to govern since ‘we run the country,’ believes Erdoğan 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has suggested that mayoral candidates of the ruling AKP had better means to govern cities compared to their opponents as the party “ran the country,” implying the government showed partial treatment to some municipalities once again.

Erdoğan takes the conductor's seat at the railway opening ceremony in Istanbul.

Duvar English

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Feb. 26 said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mayoral candidates would have more resources to govern cities as the party “ran the country,” during the Transportation Ministry’s railway opening ceremony in Istanbul.

“Who runs the country now? We do. Does the person who is currently in charge of Istanbul have our resources? He does not,” suggested Erdoğan in his speech, referring to Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). 

Erdoğan joined the opening ceremony of the Transportation Ministry’s new railway system in Istanbul with AKP’s mayoral candidate for the metropole, Murat Kurum. 

The president targeted the İmamoğlu administration in Istanbul, and called his tenure “five wasted years.” According to the President, the CHP Mayor “could and would not offer services” to Istanbul. 

Erdoğan believed İmamoğlu’s election was a “mistake” after AKP and its predecessor Islamist Welfare (Refah) Party had run the province since 1994. Erdoğan served as Istanbul Mayor between 1994 and 1998. 

The President held that he took over Istanbul from CHP in a rundown state. “People elected us to get rid of the trash, potholes, and dirt of the city,” he said. 

Erdoğan believed Istanbul was “unfortunately in a vegetative state,” and once again covered in trash, potholes, and dirt under the “negligent and careless” İmamoğlu administration. He added that the province suffered from a lack of investments.

All the problems Erdoğan saw in Istanbul would be resolved with AKP candidate Murat Kurum’s election, the president suggested. 

“God willing, when our brother Kurum joins forces with the People’s Alliance in Ankara, this province will not experience any more lagging,” concluded Erdoğan. 

Erdoğan has emphasized the importance of government support in municipality performance during his campaign speeches for the upcoming local elections of March 31. 

He has similarly urged the residents of the quake-torn Hatay province to vote for the AKP mayoral candidate if they wished to receive services. 

Erdoğan has said, “I will tell you this truth: If central and local governments do not cooperate, nothing will arrive in that province. Did Hatay receive anything? Now Hatay is miserable, it is poor,” referring to the destitute state of the province following massive destruction by the earthquakes.