Ekrem İmamoğlu, the unofficial winner of İstanbul’s mayoral election on Sunday, said in an interview with the Euronews Turkish website that the constitution does not give President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the right to interfere with municipal budgets.
“The president doesn’t have the right to make a budgetary cut. İstanbul’s share of the national income is stipulated by the constitution,” İmamoğlu, the opposition candidate for the mayoral post, said.
“Maybe they will hold back additional resources they’ve been granting through various incentives, but we didn’t plan to manage İstanbul by relying on them, anyway,” he added.
İmamoğlu also touched on a controversy regarding the election results in İstanbul, which were contested by Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for a recount.
“We know they’ve governed this city for 25 years. But they will have to acknowledge that some things won’t last forever,” İmamoğlu said. “It is completely untoward that they treat the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality like their own personal property.”
İmamoğlu also said AKP circles are merely trying to create a certain perception since they don’t have any data to alter the outcome.
“I hope that the Supreme Election Board [YSK] will soon come to a conclusion on the matter and we’ll receive the office we deserve.”
When asked if he thinks the AKP will ultimately respect the results, İmamoğlu said: “Frankly, it doesn’t concern me all that much. What I care about is the YSK’s decision.”
Turkey held local elections on Sunday in which the ruling AKP and its nationalist ally suffered a series of unexpected defeats in large cities such as İstanbul and the capital city of Ankara, even though they won the majority of votes on a national scale.
A Turkish columnist on Wednesday claimed that the government was working on a legislative project to curb municipal budgets, and a video of Erdoğan telling a group of supporters that opposition candidates who won office would be ‘lame ducks’ has been circulating on Turkish social media.