Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said that he thinks President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan loves him, despite public conflicts between the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) member and the president since the former's election into office in 2019.
"I believe he loves me very much," the mayor said about the president, speaking on KRT TV on March 30. "I think he loves me from afar."
Noting that the president is a resident of Istanbul, and "has a love for Istanbul," İmamoğlu said that the president surely acknowledges the fact that there's "a reality of an Ekrem İmamoğlu from the CHP who is doing a very good job."
"There's love and respect, but there's also a conflict," İmamoğlu said about the president's feelings for him.
The president and the Istanbul mayor have been in almost constant political conflict with one another since the local elections of March 2019.
"I asked him why he didn't approve my loan for new city buses. I asked him why he wouldn't sign off on it for five to six months. He said he would," İmamoğlu said about a conversation he had with the president at the funeral of former Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, who was from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Erdoğan has reportedly also refused to meet with the mayor despite the latter's repeated attempts to get an appointment.