Mayor’s votes give AKP confidence for Istanbul

Mayor’s votes give AKP confidence for Istanbul

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Mayor’s votes give AKP confidence for Istanbul

Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş and his wife, Özleyiş Topbaş’ are voting during the 2009 local elections. The ruling Justice and Development Party looks on course to protect its seat in the Istanbul Metropolitan municipality ahead of next year’s elections.

Local election surveys in Istanbul show that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is likely to win polls next year, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, noting that Kadir Topbaş receiving more than half of the support for his post as Istanbul mayor.

Erdoğan attended a breakfast with Istanbul deputies and party officials yesterday morning, where he disclosed the latest numbers.

The surveys showed that the AKP had over 52 percent support, well ahead of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), which has 29 percent support. Support for Topbaş as Istanbul mayor was even higher than the overall support for AKP, with numbers reaching around 55 percent in favor of the incumbent.

The AKP, however, has failed to make inroads in large districts already under CHP control, with districts showing strong support for the main opposition party. The AKP only received 28 percent support in Kadıköy, 23 percent in Beşiktaş, 29 percent in Bakırköy. In contrast, over 50 percent of the electorate in the districts supports the current CHP mayors, the survey showed.

However, other CHP-controlled districts like Avcılar, Büyükçekmece, Çatalca, Silivri, Kartal and Maltepe are now swinging toward the AKP, according to Erdoğan.

Esenler, Sultanbeyli among AKP strongholds

Esenler is displaying 68 percent support for the AKP, one point behind Sultanbeyli. The AKP has 54 percent support in Beyoğlu, 28 points above the CHP. Conservative stronghold Bağcılar, too, favored the AKP, with 63 percent of the votes coming in support of the ruling party.

Şişli, however, was the polar opposite, with long-time Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül receiving an overwhelming 70 percent of the votes. When distributed against the parties, the AKP has only 38 percent support in the district.

Erdoğan also spoke about future projects during the breakfast meeting, including a third bridge over the Bosphorus and a third airport.

Erdoğan told his party members that Canal Istanbul, the planned airport, and the third bridge would all be constructed on the build-operate-transfer model and that the Marmaray, a massive rail project, would soon begin to operate. The pedestrianization of Taksim Square will soon be completed as well.

“We are doing a lot for Istanbul,” the prime minister said, before warning deputies about complacency. “Go from door to door to tell everyone all about these. Do not fall into comfort over the surveys. The local elections are crucial for us.”

When asked about the controversial 2-B lands sale, which include deforested lands, Erdoğan said, “Those are fields now, they will soon become plots.”