Istanbul mayor blames climate change for floods

Istanbul mayor blames climate change for floods

Istanbul mayor blames climate change for floods

Some have joked that there was no need to build a canal in Istanbul, as the İstiklal Avenue would do the job. AA Photo

Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Kadir Topbaş has blamed climate change while denying any problems with the city’s infrastructure as he sought to justify flooding in the center of the city following a short downpour on the weekend.

“If water inundates the London underground, and we see deluges in cities in many places around the world, this means that the world is giving some signals,” said Topbaş, suggesting that those “signals” may be related to global warming.

Many central areas of Istanbul turned into little artificial lakes, while the metropolis’ major entertainment area, İstiklal Avenue, was completely flooded on Aug. 2. But Topbaş dismissed claims that the problem was tied to the area’s infrastructure, arguing that the metropolitan municipality had done all the necessary work by restoring the canal under the avenue.

“For someone who spent his childhood in Beyoğlu, I have never seen such a thing,” Topbaş said, adding that the rainfall on Aug. 2 had been particularly heavy. “It rained 2.5 cm in 15 minutes, in other words, it rained as if you were pouring water from buckets,” he said.

In a similar fashion, Topbaş had already blamed climate change after rainstorms hit the city 2009, leading to nine deaths. At the time, he mentioned an “ecological apocalypse,” denouncing America and Europe for contaminating the world.

Despite the now admitted concerns on climate change, the deforestation of the northern parts of the city is continuing to open space for giant construction projects, including the third bridge and airport, which have met the vocal criticism of environmentalists.

Topbaş to revise public transport system

Touching on recent incidents involving public buses in Istanbul, including the deadly fire of a bus on July 27, Topbaş vowed to revise the public transport system.

“We have to put things on the table and solve what’s lacking,” he said.

Some 18 people were also injured, some seriously, on Aug. 1 after a bus crashed into the ferry docks in Kabataş, while 11 people were also injured in an accident on the Anatolian side.