Duvar English

Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş has filed a lawsuit against Melih Gökçek, the former mayor of the city, on the grounds that he used the money allocated for the renewal of a waste water treatment facility for other purposes.

Yavaş demanded in his criminal complaint that the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office bring charges of “abusing authority” and “causing damage on the environment by negligence” against Gökçek.

The criminal complaint came after Yavaş asked the Ankara Municipal Council to discuss a loan proposal to renew Tatlar Waste Water Treatment Facility’s water-pipes. Yavaş’s demand was turned down by the municipal council, in which the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its nationalist ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) councillors hold a majority.

This prompted Yavaş, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), to file a lawsuit against Gökçek, the AKP’s former mayor who ran the municipality from 1994 to 2017.

Yavaş’s petition said that the renewal of Tatlar Facility is an “emergency” as its deferral puts the public health in danger. Yavaş said that as per a decision of the municipal council in 2007, the municipality took a loan of 536 million Turkish Liras for the facility’s renewal but this money was not used for this purpose.

“Former Ankara Mayor and other suspects to be investigated have put the public health in a serious danger by not renewing Tatlar Waste Water Treatment Facility, which is described as an urgent issue and which should have been undertaken 20 years ago,” Yavaş’s criminal complaint read.

Gökçek claimed in a Tweet on May 10 that the renewal of water pipes for the relevant facility would cost 8 million Turkish Liras, implying that it should not be difficult for the Ankara Water and Sewage Administration (ASKİ) to find this money.

Yavaş in his criminal complaint touched upon Gökçek’s Tweet, saying that the figure of 8 million Liras does not reflect the truth. “This figure corresponds to the money the suspect used to buy just one of the dinosaurs,” Yavaş said, referring to several dinosaur statues placed at an amusement park by the order of Gökçek. One of the dinosaur statues, having a 10-meter height, was even erected on a busy road in Ankara in 2015. The statue had become a symbol of unnecessary expenditure for the city.