Turkish gov’t restructures transportation authority, reducing municipal influence

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Ekrem İmamoğlu

A new regulation published on Wednesday in Turkey’s Official Gazette has significantly altered the composition of the Transportation Coordination Centers (UKOME), the agency responsible for transportation-related matters in metropolitan cities, reducing municipal representation to a minority, according to several reports in the local media.

The regulation introduced three new ministerial representatives as well as one from the national railroad authority to the makeup of the agency.

In practice, the move will result in the reduction of municipal representation to a minority status, dealing a significant blow to metropolitan municipalities such as İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir, where main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidates scored victories against ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) nominees in last year’s local elections.

The regulation prompted reactions from CHP officials, with one CHP council member describing it as an attempt to obstruct the opposition.

İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu vowed to challenge the move at the Council of State (Danıştay).

“This is not your toy, this is the city of İstanbul,” İmamoğlu said.

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