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Turkey’s municipal tenders to be subject to presidential approval, columnist claims

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The Turkish government is preparing to pass legislation that will put municipal tenders in excess of a certain amount subject to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s approval, Sözcü columnist Çiğdem Toker claimed on Wednesday.

The assertion came after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) suffered a series of unexpected defeats in the country’s largest cities in Sunday’s local elections, most notably in İstanbul and the capital city of Ankara.

In her column titled “Tutelage, tenders and the first expectation,” Toker said that if the legislation is passed, Erdoğan will have the last word in terms of any substantial municipal investment in municipalities that have been taken over by the opposition.

“What makes İstanbul and Ankara crucial for the AKP is the fact that they are central in terms of the distribution of huge public financial resources,” Toker said.

Toker highlighted that for the last 25 years the two cities have been held by Islamist parties that had enjoyed unilateral power in deciding on tenders worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

“The lack of effective scrutiny of local governments has led to an arbitrariness in the decision making, which had the effect of commercializing public services as well as contributed to the lifespan of political power structures supported by the networks that were strengthened through the many tenders granted to them,” Toker wrote.

Toker also claimed that the situation will be difficult for the opposition even though their nominees have won office, reminding of Erdoğan’s words prior to the election:

“Even if they win, they won’t be able to make it work. Why? Because they won’t even be able to pay the salaries of the staff. We have all the personal records of the municipalities at the moment.”

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