President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has urged his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) mayors not to cause any problem in delivering services in their constituencies, saying the essence of the success in running the country stem from the performance of the local governments.
“I always keep saying, those who fail at the local level cannot show success in the state administration,” Erdoğan told the AKP mayors at a routine assessment meeting in Ankara on Aug. 20.
“Even a smallest inconvenience at the local level can cost us at the country level. Therefore, you should not confine your vision to city borders. You should be aware that all the right and wrong steps you take have consequences,” he stated.
The AKP lost Turkey’s largest cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, to the opposition candidates in 2019 local elections. Erdoğan, who served as Istanbul mayor between 1994 and 1998, has always paid enormous importance to the local governments as he believes that the path to government starts from municipalities.
The works on reforming the local governments are continuing at the AKP headquarters with plans to submit it to the parliament in the next legislative years, Erdoğan informed.
Asking the AKP mayors to prepare special programs to tackle the problems of the youth as the core of the AKP policies, he said, “We currently have one million members representing the youth. We have five million women members. In total, we have 11 million members. Now we have a new target: Registering one million new members in a year until the next elections.”
Erdoğan criticizes Istanbul mayor
Erdoğan also slammed opposition-run municipalities across the country, but singled out Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu.
“Do you see what they did to Haliç [the Golden Horn] where once dolphins could swim? It was us who cleaned to clear the water from its previous deteriorating condition. We observe similar scenes in many parts of our country. Istanbul is now displaying a big disgrace because of the mountains of rubbish,” he stated.
Both the quality and the quantity of the municipal services have dropped under the opposition mayors, Erdoğan said, adding, “I specifically mention Istanbul: Rubbish, holes and mud. Our people have started to suffer from these in some cities.”
He also argued that many municipal workers were fired because of their political leanings, although Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had assured that nobody gets discriminated.
Hurriyet Daily News