Istanbul mayor promises to ‘include people in the process’

Istanbul mayor promises to ‘include people in the process’

Istanbul mayor promises to ‘include people in the process’

Istanbul’s new mayor promised on April 21 to include the city’s people in the process of running the country’s biggest city.

“A mentality of ‘new generation citizenship’ is coming to Istanbul,” Ekrem İmamoğlu of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said at a rally to celebrate a “new beginning,” urging people to unite after he won a highly contested race against the ruling party candidate.

“In parallel with the expansion of participation mechanisms, the citizens will be provided equal access to information technologies,” the 49-year-old said during the rally in Maltepe on the Asian side of the city.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is still seeking a rerun of the March 31 Istanbul ballot, but electoral authorities on April 16 handed İmamoğlu his mandate after he won a slim 13,000-vote lead over the AKP’s Binali Yıldırım.

İmamoğlu, a soft-spoken former district mayor who struck a conciliatory tone throughout the heated race, has vowed to serve all citizens of the 16 million-strong city, regardless of their political inclinations.

“We are united now. The whole of Istanbul is meeting in Maltepe for a ‘new beginning,’” the new mayor said.

İmamoğlu, who will govern the city for the next five years, said the Maltepe rally was not a political gathering, but a way to introduce the city’s new administration to the people of Istanbul.

“I want you to know that a new beginning is very valuable,” he said. “The coming five years is not only five years for the mayor but also for 16 million people.”