Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan opens Istanbul’s longest metro line on the city’s Anatolian side, and invites Istanbul residents to use public transportation
PM Erdoğan (L) and his top officials pose with a train during new line opening. DAILY NEWS photo
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
opened Istanbul’s newest and longest metro line Aug. 17, the Kadıköy-Kartal line on the city’s Anatolian side, which is expected to relieve intense traffic jams on the E-5 highway. In a speech at the opening ceremony, Erdoğan invited Istanbul residents to use public transportation more often.
“We completed this line, which travels 40 meters beneath the surface for 22 kilometers, in about seven years with a budget of 3.1 billion Turkish Liras. This line will make a difference, with trains arriving every 2.5 minutes. In the future, this time will decrease to one train every 90 seconds. It is estimated that 1 million people will use this line daily,” Erdoğan said. The necessary measures were taken to ensure that handicapped and visually impaired citizens can use the line easily, he said.
The line will benefit Istanbul and Turkey’s economy, as well, Erdoğan said. “According to our calculations, Turkey, Istanbul and the citizens of Istanbul will save 1.153 billion [liras] thanks to this line.”
“If this metro line had not been built, 32 buses and 67 minibuses would have been assigned to Kadıköy-Kartal line,” Erdoğan said, addressing the issue of road traffic. “We are now expecting to withdraw 572 buses and 1,227 minibuses from this route in the first year [the metro line is open], which will help relieve traffic jams.”
There are 1.95 billion cars in Istanbul, Erdoğan said, calling on the city’s residents to use public transportation more. “The number of the motor vehicles added to Istanbul traffic each day is 450. We are not showing enough interest in public transportation. Western societies are not like that. They drive until they arrive at public transportation, and continue that way. This [attitude] has many benefits for the efficiency of the economy. We haven’t been able to solve this yet, and that is why there are many problems with Istanbul traffic.”
Haldun Taner Square in Kadıköy will be closed to car traffic as the metro comes into service. “Istanbul has been undergoing irregular urbanization for many years. We must think of the future. Healthy precautions should be taken from the start. We aim to fix the problems of the past while creating solutions for the future.”
Following a tender for the construction of a third bridge crossing the Bosphorus, heavy vehicles will be directed towards the bridge, Erdoğan said. “We are working on building an airport with a capacity of 100 million on the coast of the Black Sea
[in Istanbul]. The project is mostly complete at the moment. This project cost approximately 60 billion lira,” he said.
Erdoğan also lashed out at the media regarding their coverage of terrorist attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.
“Against the terrorists who shed blood in the holy Ramadan: I state it clearly to the TV channels, I have a reaction to those media outlets that broadcast their lawyers and their storytellers,” Erdoğan said.