The mayor of Istanbul has said the city’s budget deficit has been reduced by $612 million in his first two months in office, according to the Ahval news website.
Ekrem İmamoğlu was elected mayor of Turkey’s biggest city in June after a rerun of the local election, ending 25 years of rule by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its Islamist predecessors.
İmamoğlu, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), pledged to tackle what he said was extravagant city council spending and the vast amounts it transferred to charitable foundations close to the ruling party.
“It is first of all our president who should be pleased with every cent we have added to the Istanbul budget by preventing waste. The TL 10.5 billion [$1.8 billion] budget deficit was brought down to TL 7 billion in the course of 75 days,” opposition newspaper Sözcü quoted İmamoğlu as saying on Monday.
The 49-year-old mayor said another TL 50 million had been saved through canceling tenders since he assumed office.
“We are easing the burden of the central government. A new era is starting in Turkey,” İmamoğlu said.