Employees of the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality on Wednesday held a demonstration in protest of Ekrem İmamoğlu, the opposition candidate for İstanbul mayor, accusing him of conducting a perception management operation against municipal services, Turkish media reported.
The demonstration, the first of its kind in Turkey with the employees of a municipality coming together for a protest against an opposition candidate, took place in the front of the municipal building in İstanbul’s Saraçhane neighborhood.
There will be a repeat mayoral election in İstanbul on June 23. The Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) mayoral candidate, Binali Yıldırım, lost the election held on March 31 against Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu; however, the country’s election authority in a controversial move on May 6 cancelled the results of the İstanbul vote and ruled for a repeat election on June 23.
The Supreme Election Board (YSK) made its ruling based on objections from the AKP, which claimed that there were irregularities and fraud in the election.
Speaking on behalf of the municipal employees, Murat Kazanasmaz, a prominent expert on İstanbul traffic, said the employees condemn those who show the “recklessness” of presenting hundreds of services and activities carried out in İstanbul for years through the effective and good use of resources under the name of “wastefulness.”
During his election campaign, İmamoğlu accused the AKP, which has been ruling İstanbul for years, of misusing the city’s resources and wasting them on the party’s cronies.
Without openly mentioning İmamoğlu’s name, Kazanasmaz said there is a systematic effort and perception management operation to exhaust the services and efforts of the municipal employees. He claimed that there has been no act of wastefulness in the municipality and that claims suggesting otherwise are baseless and untrue.
Among the participants of the demonstration were a lawyer and an imam in addition to the municipal workers.