Metro logo prompts quarrel between Transportation Ministry, Istanbul Municipality

Turkey's Transportation Ministry and the Istanbul Municipality entered a quarrel about the logo for the city's metro lines after the former announced that the iconic "M" sign would be replaced with a "U," the first letter for the ministry's name in Turkish.

Duvar English

Turkey's Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry and the Istanbul Municipality entered a quarrel over the symbol of the city's metro lines after the government announced on Sep. 6 that the logo would be changing.

Transportation Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu shared a graphic showing the new symbol on Sep. 6, where the letter U, the first letter for the word "transportation" in Turkish, has replaced the iconic M logo used for metros worldwide. 

Istanbul Municipality Spokesman Murat Ongun responded to the minister's statement by noting that the metro logo has been the same for years, including the period when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was in control of the metropolis' local government.

"The logo for Istanbul's metro has been M since 1992. This was the case when you were in charge of the municipality, and it will remain during this time when the largest number of metros are being built in Istanbul," the spokesman wrote on Twitter. 

The Transportation Minister insisted on the new logo after Ongun's comment, sharing information on the construction of seven new lines in Istanbul that span 103.3 kilometers.

"The U era in Istanbul metros," the minister wrote.

Istanbul's metro lines are run by the Metropolitan Municipality, but some social media users suggested that the Transportation Ministry wanted to replace the M signs with a U to differentiate lines they've constructed from those built by the local government.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) on Sep. 7 submitted a parliamentary inquiry about the proposed change in the logo.

In his parliamentary motion, CHP MP Ahmet Akın said that the U letter is not a nationally-recognized letter used for the metro lines and that the government almost seemed like it was trying to imitate the system used in Germany, which displays the letter U for its U-bahn railway system.

"According to which standards have the 'U' letter, which will be used in the relevant metro line project, been determined? Have the opinions of Istanbul residents been taken for the design of the 'U' symbol?" Akın asked in his parliamentary inquiry addressing Minister Karaismailoğlu.

In the 2019 local elections, the ruling AKP lost Istanbul to the main opposition CHP, after running the city for the past 25 years.