Istanbul Governor's Office launches probe against municipality, cites 'unauthorized fundraising'

The Istanbul Governor's Office has launched an investigation against an affiliate company of the Metropolitan Municipality, run by the main opposition CHP, on the grounds of “unauthorized fundraising.”

Duvar English

The Istanbul Governor's Office on Feb. 4 announced that it has launched an investigation against an affiliate company of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB), run by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on the grounds of “unauthorized fundraising.”

The move came after the İBB on Feb. 1 announced that Istanbul residents could make donations for the education of girls via designated machines developed by its affiliated company İSBAK A.Ş.

In its statement, the Istanbul Governor's Office said that the municipality had placed the machines in two shopping malls.

It said that fundraising activities were subject to permission in accordance with the Aid Collection Law No. 2860, and that no permission had been obtained by the municipality.

“Legal proceedings have been initiated and are continuing in accordance with the provision ‘Aid collection activities undertaken without permission are immediately prohibited by the security forces and those responsible are prosecuted,'” the governor's office said.

The tension between the Istanbul Municipality, under Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, and the central government is on the rise recently. 

In December, the Interior Ministry announced that an investigation was launched into claims that dozens of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's personnel are linked to "terrorist organizations."

İmamoğlu became one of the most visible faces of the opposition after beating his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) opponent in the 2019 local elections. He is frequently targeted by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli.