İstanbul mayor says Treasury denying permission to revive 3 stalled rail projects

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İstanbul's new mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu in a city tram.

İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has said the city’s plans to revive three rail system projects are currently blocked by the Undersecretariat of the Treasury, the BirGün news website reported on Tuesday.

“We are able to get loans for the project, but we need Treasury permission to put it into motion,” İmamoğlu said, addressing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The projects, involving the construction of two subway lines and one streetcar line, were left unfinished two years ago, according to the report.

Last year the opposition-nominated İmamoğlu was elected mayor of the largest city in the country, defeating Erdoğan’s candidate and ending a 25-year uninterrupted political Islamist rule in the city.

His popularity has led several commentators to suggest that he might challenge Erdoğan in the next presidential election.

Despite being a municipal official, he is frequently the target of verbal attacks by Erdoğan, members of his cabinet and the pro-government media.

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