Ankara mayor denies city’s brown tap water is polluted

Ankara mayor denies city’s brown tap water is polluted

Ankara mayor denies city’s brown tap water is polluted

Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek drinks a glass of tap water it in front of the cameras to prove that it is safe. AA Photo

Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek has denied that the city’s tap water smells bad and caused diarrhea, lashing out at opposition party lawmakers for conducting a “smear campaign” against him.

“According to Health Ministry records, there is only a two percent increase in the number of patients with intestinal infection syndrome. This figure is 33 percent in İzmir. Plus, Ankara is more populous [than İzmir],” Gökçek told reporters at a press conference on Sept. 11.

İzmir, the country’s third largest city, is being run by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and is often compared with Gökçek’s Ankara at times when his performance as mayor is criticized.

“I call on CHP lawmakers, particular Ms. Aylin [Nazlıaka]. If you do not go to İzmir [to check the water situation] then you are liars and deceiving the people,” Gökçek also said.

In a bid to prove the safety of the tap water, the Ankara mayor drunk a glass of it in front of the cameras and compared it to bottled French water, arguing that his city’s tap water is a higher quality than processed water. “In honor of the CHP,” he said before sipping from the glass.

There have been reports about an increase in complaints over intestinal infection symptoms in Ankara, with suggestions that the main cause is the polluted tap water provided by the Ankara municipality.

“If CHP lawmakers are courageous enough, they should appear with me in a live debate. Those who slander the Ankara Greater Municipality and the Ankara Water and Canalization Affairs, including CHP deputy Aylin Nazlıaka, will be sued,” Gökçek vowed.

He also said 30 million/cbm water had been pumped into Ankara as reinforcements to the Kızılırmak River, Ankara’s main source of water, over the last four months.

CHP invites Gökçek to water duel

Gökçek’s explanation, however, has apparently not satisfied the CHP. Levent Gök, Ankara deputy for the party, invited Gökçek to a “water duel” and called on him to drink tap water collected from a number of different districts across the city.

“Come and drink just one glass of this water and I’ll drink the rest,” Gök said.