Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu is paying a two-day visit to London for meetings with officials and global finance industry representatives.
On Nov. 14, he met with Turkey’s London Ambassador Ümit Yalçın. He then visited the the Royal Institute of International Affairs, commonly known as Chatham House, which is an NGO with a mission to analyze and promote the understanding of major international issues and current affairs. Here he held a meeting with Simon Fraser, the Vice-President of Chatham House.
Later on the same day, İmamoğlu visited his London counterpart Sadiq Khan. “We have held a great meeting with London Mayor Sadiq Khan in the name of making a fresh start between our cities. From now on, Istanbul and London will work very closely and with a common mind more than ever,” İmamoğlu tweeted following his meeting with Khan.
Khan also tweeted about his meeting with İmamoğlu, writing: “It was a pleasure to meet the elected Mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu today. It’s more important than ever that we strengthen London’s ties to major cities around the world.”
İmamoğlu told reporters on the same day that his meeting with Khan had been “very productive.” “The inspiration that Istanbul exhibits and its democratic stance, which it has presented especially with this last election, have attracted the whole world’s interest,” İmamoğlu said, referring to the 2019 Istanbul mayoral election.
The June 2019 Istanbul mayoral election was held on June 23. It was a re-run of the March 2019 mayoral election, which was annulled by the Supreme Election Council (YSK) on May 6.
The local election in March was tight, with İmamoğlu prevailing by a sliver. Just 13,000 votes separated the two in a city of more than 15 million.
In the June 23 do-over poll, however, İmamoğlu, of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), won 54.21 percent of the votes, leading ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate Binali Yıldırım to concede the race.
İmamoğlu said on Nov. 14 that Khan had congratulated him on his election success and had told him Istanbul’s electing him again was a “democracy reclamation.”
İmamoğlu also said that he will hold meetings with representatives of the world’s leading investment banks and finance firms on Nov. 15. Among these global firms are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citi Group, HSBC, Barclays, Standard Life Aberdeen, and Bridgepoint Capital Group, according to various media outlets.
İmamoğlu said the meetings will revolve around financing options for investments in Istanbul’s infrastructure projects, especially underground metro projects.
He said the funding amount and exact structure had not been determined yet. “We don’t have a detailed plan based on a concrete budget at the moment, we’re not working on exact numbers,” he told reporters. “What we’re doing is a technical dialogue and our technical colleagues will continue this dialogue.”
Meanwhile, İmamoğlu was set to address British Turks in North London on Nov. 14 at 5.30 p.m. local time. He will take to the stage at the Dominion Centre on Wood Green High Road, in the heart of London’s Turkish community, to give a talk in Turkish.