Istanbul municipal council to elect new mayor on Sept 28 after Topbaş’s resignation
Eyüp Serbest – ISTANBULThe Istanbul municipal council will meet on Sept. 28 to elect a new provincial mayor, after Kadir Topbaş announced last week that he was stepping down from the post, which he had held for the past 13 years.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Sept. 25 that the position of Topbaş would “probably” be filled by one of the Istanbul district mayors.
“Regarding this, our chair [President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] has carried out an evaluation with a broad participation from mayors. The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipal Council will gather on Sept. 28 on Thursday and will hold an election,” Yıldırım said in an interview jointly broadcast on news stations.
He also appeared to deny rumors that his name would be put forward for the post in the 2019 local election.
“The [Istanbul mayorship] position has become vacant. Another person will come and fill the seat. So where will you put me? The seat is already full. We already have work to do,” Yıldırım said.
The decision to hold the election at the municipal council was taken on Sept. 24 in a consultation meeting held at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Istanbul office, to which President Erdoğan also attended. The four-long hour meeting started at 1.30 p.m. and was closed to the press.
Prior to the meeting at the AKP building in the Sütlüce neighborhood of the Beyoğlu district, police were seen taking heavy security measures.
Topbaş announced his resignation on Sept. 22, following disputes in the municipality administration after he handed back five previously agreed zoning amendments on the grounds that they would damage the municipal council. The amendments were then approved once again without changes with the votes of AKP council members.
Topbaş, who previously worked as an architect, said he was “not offended” by the recent dispute and had always been committed to the party, saying he welcomed criticism but “would not forget disrespect against him.”
He was first elected as mayor on the AKP ticket back in March 2004. He had previously served as the mayor of the city’s central Beyoğlu district from April 1999 to March 2004.
Meanwhile, Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin, responsible for security in the province, released a statement on Sept. 24 regarding the issue.
“The position of the Istanbul Metropolitan Mayorship has become empty due to Kadir Topbaş’s resignation. In line with the 45th article of municipal law no. 5393, in order to elect the new mayor, my governor’s office has seen it appropriate for the Metropolitan Municipal Council to gather on Sept. 28, 2017, on Thursday at 3 p.m.,” read the statement.