AKP’s Yıldırım vows to stand against efforts ‘ruining’ Istanbul’s silhouette
Former Prime Minister and Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mayoral candidate Binali Yıldırım has said that he will ensure that the silhouette of the historic city of İstanbul will not be further ruined by bad urban planning, opposition newspaper Sözcü reported on Sunday.
"I am going to stand against works that further ruin the silhouette of the city. However, this is not an easy matter. There are eight different institutions that have development rights…’’ Yıldırım told Sözcü.
Yıldırım’s statements arrive as Turkey counts down to the local elections set to take place on March 31 when the former prime minister will take on main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul candidate Ekrem Imamoğlu, a former district mayor of İstanbul’s Beylikdüzü district.
Turkey’s ruling AKP, which has been running İstanbul for over two decades, has come under criticism for the construction of towers and bridges that ruin the silhouette of the mega-city, which includes the historic structures such as the Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque.
Yıldırım, who previously served as the minister of transportation, also said he is preparing to solve the city’s traffic problem, increasing public transportation to 48 percent of overall traffic from 18 percent.
Yıldırım also pointed to the CHP for İstanbul’s urban planning issues, noting that the main opposition party runs many district municipalities.
‘’Not all municipalities are under the AKP. These matters are discussed in city councils. Why don’t they take these issues to court? Many of the skyscrapers are in CHP municipalities,’’ Yıldırım noted.
AKP candidate Kadir Topbaş was re-elected for a third consecutive term as mayor of İstanbul with 47.9 percent of the vote in the last local elections held in 2014 while CHP candidate, Mustafa Sarıgül, came in second place with 40 percent of the vote
Turkey’s governing AKP gained 42.89 percent of the vote with 818 municipalities in the last municipal elections, while the main opposition CHP came in second place with 26.34 percent and 232 municipalities.