Duvar English

A fresh row has erupted between Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) over three metro lines that were set to be built in the city, but have been inactive for two years.

İmamoğlu on Jan. 14 said that the municipality found loans to continue the construction of three metro lines, but can’t do so because they can’t get approval from the Treasury.

“Treasury approval is needed in order for us to make use of the loan. We found the chance to get loans. All we ask for is a little touch,” İmamoğlu said, as he urged President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to act on the issue.

“I’m calling on the President to put all the paused metro lines to use before the end of 2022-2023. We can work on their financing together. Are these lines mine? Are they Erdoğan’s? No, they belong to the people,” he said.

“Our demands for these three metro lines were rejected in the first week of January. If they’re not rejected, we’ll be able to act on the metro lines with these loans,” İmamoğlu added.

Istanbul was governed by the AKP for 15 years, until İmamoğlu, who is from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), was elected in 2019.

Refuting Transportation and Infrastructure Minister’s statements on Istanbul municipality’s cancellation of metro lines, İmamoğlu noted that politics shouldn’t be included in this issue.

Some 70 percent of one of the three metro lines that was set to be built in Istanbul’s Asian side was completed, but construction hasn’t been continuing.

Shortly after İmamoğlu’s remarks, the Finance and Treasury Ministry released a statement, saying that no loan approval applications were received or rejected by the ministry in January.