Newly elected AKP mayor slams former AKP mayor over municipality’s extreme debts

AKP's newly elected Malatya Metropolitan Mayor Sami Er reacted against the former AKP mayor for leaving the municipality without resources and with a debt of 17.8 billion liras. He stated that they made salary payments by taking a loan of 85 million liras on the first day he took office.

Former Malatya Mayor Selahattin Gürkan in 2023 poses with his brand new office car, Turkey's "national car" TOGG.

Duvar English

Sami Er, who was elected as the mayor of Malatya Metropolitan Municipality from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the local elections, slammed the former AKP mayor for leaving the municipality with a debt of 17.8 billion Turkish liras ($548M).

The eastern province’s municipality assembly on April 16 held the first meeting of the new period after the local elections and the debts of the Metropolitan Municipality for the past period were announced to the public.

Newly-elected Er had difficulty in pronouncing the municipality's debt of 17.80 billion liras and said, "On the day we took office, staff salaries were supposed to be paid. However, since there was no money, we were able to pay salaries by taking a loan of 85 million liras ($2.6M)."

Reminding that they live in one of the provinces most affected by the Feb. 6 earthquakes, Er stated that they received the municipality from the previous AKP mayor Selahattin Gürkan with a huge debt and zero resources.

"In order to find resources and minimize the debt, we thought of selling some of the properties in the newly built bazaar, but we found that there were no properties to sell. The only things left to the municipality in there are the road, the square and 97 underground warehouses. Unfortunately, we could not find a source to alleviate the debt,” Er noted.

Taking the floor, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Municipal Assembly Member Günnur Tabel said, "We were told that there were 300 shops belonging to the municipality in the bazaar. Mayor Gürkan had given us some information just before he handed over the position, but it does not match the current picture at al.”

Metropolitan municipality's central office, with a debt of 12.14 billion lira, held the largest debt among debt items, while the municipality's water and sewage administration, MASKİ, ranked second with 3.63 billion lira, and the municipality's concrete production subsidiary, MESTON, ranked third with 581.84 million lira.