ISTANBUL - Hürriyet
Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas, poses on January 7, 2013 at the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne. Minister of European Affairs Egemen Bağış and Minister of Transport Binali Yıldırım have been hinted as his potential successors. but Topbaş announced on Feb. 9 that he was willing to run for a third time in the municipal elections of 2014. AFP photo
Incumbent Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş announced on Feb. 9 that he was willing to run for a third time in the municipal elections of 2014, ending rumors of the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) candidacy.
"I told [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] that I was submitting my candidacy again... I feel that there is a consensus on my continuity," Topbaş told daily Hürriyet.
Despite Tobaş's will for a third term at the helm of the biggest metropolis of Turkey, prominent names of the AKP such as Minister of European Affairs Egemen Bağış and Minister of Transport Binali Yıldırım have been hinted as his potential successors.
Topbaş, who did not want to comment on the speculations regarding his reported rivals, noted that many projects were still waiting to be finalized.
Tobpaş especially emphasized that his principal goal was to extend Istanbul's metro system to 641 kilometers and provide daily underground public transportation for seven million residents. Comparatively, 3.3 million London residents use the underground on weekdays while 5.2 million New Yorkers travel daily on the city’s subway. Topbaş said that the municipality has invested $7 million in rail transportation. "Because we are working under the ground, no one sees it but there is non-stop, 24-hour work going on," Topbaş added.
He also announced that the municipality plans to restore the remnants of the city's ancient walls as well as their surrounding environment. "[The project] will be defined in July 2003 but our wish is to have a big investment," said Topbaş, calling for sponsors.