Istanbul mayor still waiting for Erdoğan to approve foreign funding for municipality

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has been waiting for the last nine months for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to approve the foreign funding that the municipality found, the daily Cumhuriyet reported on Aug. 30. Erdoğan's move has been stalling the purchase of 300 buses for the country's largest city.

This collage photo shows President Erdoğan (L) and Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu.

Duvar English

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has not yet approved the foreign funding found by Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu for the municipality for the past nine months, the daily Cumhuriyet reported on Aug. 30. 

The mayor petitioned the 1 billion-lira funding for the renewal of Istanbul's city bus fleet, and city council approved the use of the budget, but the president has hindered the process for the past nine months.

The president's failure to approve the funding has prevented the purchase of 300 new buses for the metropolis where metrobuses and city buses alike suffer from technical issues and traffic accidents. 

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Istanbul mayor from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) have been at odds since the latter's election in 2019, when he replaced the AKP in the municipality. 

İmamoğlu's first election had been cancelled by the Higher Election Board (YSK), and he won in a landslide in the second round of elections held in the city. 

The president and his party have blocked fundraising efforts by the mayor, have sued him in multiple lawsuits and have placed reporting bans on all of these confrontations. 

İmamoğlu says he wants Istanbul to host 2036 Olympics 

Meanwhile, Mayor İmamoğlu said that he wants the 2036 Olympics to be held in Istanbul. 

"We held a meeting under the name of 'Istanbul's sports strategy and future plans.' Our goal here is to bring the 2036 Olympics to Istanbul. We're very ambitious about it," the mayor said on Aug. 29, while speaking at the Istanbul Sports Days in the Maltepe district. 

His administration also aims to host the paralympic games, the mayor said, adding that he hopes all mass competitions will be safe to hold with audiences in the future.