Erdoğan urges cooperation from mayors, slams İmamoğlu
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday urged all the country’s mayors to work together for Turkey’s interests despite differing political views during a meeting with metropolitan mayors at the Presidential Palace in Ankara.
“Our political views may be different, but I believe that we can act in unison where the problems of our country are concerned,” secularist news site OdaTV quoted the Turkish president as saying.
“I am particularly pleased to be with our mayors who have succeeded in drawing a line between themselves and terror and terror organisations,’’ Erdoğan said in an apparent reference to Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) mayors.
Erdoğan’s meeting with 30 of the country’s metropolitan mayors follows the ousting of three Kurdish mayors in Turkey’s southeast over terror links in August.
The dismissal of the mayors of Diyarbakir, Van and Mardin provinces, who are accused of diverting money and resources from their municipalities to support the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) agenda, sparked nation-wide protests and international condemnation.
Erdoğan congratulated the mayors for their success in the March 31 local elections and praised them for their part in “the picture of Turkey’s democracy and freedom’’.
Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost five of the country’s most populous provinces in the March 31 local elections to the main opposition CHP, including the financial hub of Istanbul and the capital Ankara.
The Turkish president criticised a move by the opposition mayor Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu, to fire at least 1,400 employees working in different municipal departments in the city earlier this month.
Recalling the period in which he served as mayor of Istanbul, Erdoğan said, “When we began at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, there were staff from two or three terms before. I did not touch anyone who deserved their spot. We never went after the staff or vehicles.’’
“We used our time and resources for the city’s problems,’’ Erdoğan added.
Istanbul mayor İmamoğlu last week lined up row upon row of vehicles rented by the previous ruling party administration in a move to highlight the scale of the AKP’s wasteful spending, something the CHP figure vowed to pursue when stepping into office.