Turkey’s election watchdog on April 17 declared İmamoğlu – candidate for main opposition party Republican People’s Party – as the winner of the municipal elections in Istanbul and handed him the mandate nearly two weeks after the local polls closed,. İmamoğlu’s victory ended the 25-year rule of the AKP in the country’s largest metropole.
“We are after normalization and embracement. No one should expect partisanship from us. We are coming to reconcile this city. And reconciliation does not happen with mere words but instead, with execution,” İmamoğlu said on his first day of work on April 18 at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality building in Saraçhane district
İmamoğlu said there are many issues in Istanbul that await solutions and he would get to work to try to tackle them.
“We will hold consultations and briefings. What has been done so far [for the city] and our colleagues’ views are very important. With this understanding, we’ll utilize everyone in this institution [Istanbul Metropolitan],” he said.
İmamoğlu said that the “embracement” of everyone was important to him and that he expected the same stance from everyone, especially the municipality employees.
“This embracement will bring a utility to our country and nation. No one will receive an order from us regarding an activity specific to a person [personal favor]. The orders [municipality employees] will receive from us will be for the benefit of Istanbulites,” he said.
Asked by reporters if he had received any phone calls from officials of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) congratulating him on his new post, İmamoğlu said: “So far no information has reached to me.”
Asked whether he would meet and welcome President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when he visits Istanbul, İmamoğlu said: “I will do whatever the state protocol and my responsibilities require. Let no one doubt about that. We are after normalization and embracement.”
The new Istanbul mayor has said that the AKP majority on the municipal council will not constitute a problem.
“I would like to turn this into an opportunity with regards to the city and democracy. If people come together with their good intention to offer service for 16 million people [of the city], there is no problem. We’ll continue our works with transparency,” he said.
Istanbul, with its 16 million residents and 11 million voters, is Turkey’s largest and therefore, most important constituency. The city occupies an important place in President Erdoğan’s political life as his introduction to Turkish politics came after his victory in 1994 mayoral elections in Istanbul.
Hurriyet Daily News