Istanbul mayor: We will now ask even for bus stops
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality will ask the public about every major project in the city, Mayor Kadir Topbaş said in a televised interview June 20. DHA photo
As the Gezi Park protests continue to top the political agenda, Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş has said the municipality will now "ask the public even if we change the location of a bus stop."
In a televised interview June 20, he also confirmed that seven municipal employees were removed from office due to accusations that they were involved in burning tents of protesters last month, initiating the countrywide demonstrations.
Topbaş said the municipality would henceforth seek to consult the people living in the affected areas about new plans.
The mayor’s remarks come at a time when the government has decided to ask Istanbul residents about the future of Gezi Park, the spark that lit the protests that have shaken Turkey since the end of last month. The government has already suspended the idea of rebuilding the former military barracks there, which had spurred the original harsh reaction.
“I have expressed to my colleagues that we should be an exemplary municipality in sharing projects with the public,” Topbaş said. The mayor also vowed more international relations with his counterparts.
He also said that seven municipal employees who were involved in a police raid on Gezi Park in the first days of the protests had been suspended. They are accused of burning the tents of a small group of protesters on May 30, before the street action spread to many provinces across the country.
Four of these employees were brought in from the outside while the remaining three were contracted with the municipality.
Topbaş said an inter-investigation had been continuing in the municipality as well.
“The management did not give such an instruction [to burn tents],” Topbaş said.
The mayor estimated the revenue loss and damage caused during the protests in the city at 60 million Turkish Liras.
Some 118 public buses and 15 fire trucks were destroyed during the protests, he added. He added that the municipality planned to plant 129 more trees in Gezi Park Topbaş also criticized the burning of the tents.
Topbaş wants another term
Responding a question if he would run for presidency for a third term in the March 2014 local elections, Topbaş said he was willing to but this depended on his party leader Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan an citizen’s will. “I would like to materialize current and future projects and have Istanbul take big steps in transportation with a system and subway that will carry 7 million people per day as of 2016, he said.