Istanbul Municipality Mayor Kadir Topbaş has said he will not run as candidate for the next term.
“I’ve been the mayor of Istanbul for three terms and this is my last. If you get too bored, then we will put on our boots and will always be on the side of those who produce service,” Topbaş said in a municipal council meeting on April 20.
During the meeting on the municipality’s activity report, members of the council from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) criticized Topbaş for “being unfair.”
Hakkı Sağlam from the CHP
said positions were promised to subcontracted laborers working in the municipality, but the promise was never kept.
“Why aren’t you giving them positions? Why don’t you keep your promises? Injustice is a bad thing. You will also be subjected to unfairness one day. You will find us, the socialists who defend human rights, the leftists and the CHP
members beside you,” Sağlam said, commenting on 637 tenders mentioned in the 2016 activity report.
“Has anybody, who doesn’t think like you or didn’t vote for you, won a tender by right? We don’t see any,” he added, accusing the mayor of cronyism.
Topbaş, infuriated by Sağlam’s accusations, said he would “start a legal process” against him.
“You say, ‘To whom did you give a tender who is not from your side.’ I will start a legal process on that. The answer to it will be given. What kind of an accusation is that? Tenders are open to everyone and anybody can enter it and win. We don’t look at people’s political identity or who that person is. This is a very serious accusation. The one who said it should be held accountable before the law,” Topbaş said.
Tension, however, continued to rise after Tarık Balyalı from the CHP
claimed several tenders were won by the companies close to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have been behind the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt.
Topbaş replied to the claims, saying that he was “saddened by the accusations.”
“What I’m sad about is the question ‘Did you help the FETÖ terrorist group?’ Look at this statement, what kind of logic and morals is this? I wonder if it’s your conscience letting you say it. Your heart will never deceive you. I believe that the person who asked this question knows in his heart that it wasn’t true,” he added.