Who is Melih Gökçek?
He is the mayor of Ankara. He is 66 years old, with two sons abd two grandchildren. He has a hobby of picking on the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). He loves polemics. His motto in life is, “I will mess with anyone who messes with me.”
Here are excerpts from my interview with Melih Gökçek, who recently laid down the gauntlet regarding the ongoing controversy over Ankara's allegedly hazardous tap water: “Whoever says the water of Ankara is dirty should prove it.”
You could submit scientific reports to prove that Ankara’s water is clean. You could show these reports to those who say the water is polluted. And the matter would be over. But, no, you drink water from the tap and start a thousand polemics. Why?
The CHP and the Chamber of Medicine are affecting everybody psychologically; they talk in every medium. They have created a rumor that Ankara’s water is undrinkable. This is perception management.
Well, exactly. If you have scientific evidence, you would be able to take it out and present it against the people saying these things.
We are doing that, but they do not accept it. They do not listen to it. There is an ASKİ report, but they say “no” to it.
Well, they have a point because ASKİ is an associate of the municipality.
Take it to another institution. You have it checked. Get a report and bring it here. No, they refuse.
Do they have no scientific proof in their hands?
They have nothing. They only have claims. They do not have a scientific report. They should bring one and present a scientific report.
How much time do you spend on Twitter?
Generally while I am in the car, going to places.
You are on Twitter at three in the morning. What kind of a road trip is this?
I work until two or three in the morning, and then I go home. While I am going home, I start tweeting in the car. Then I decide not to sleep until the morning prayers. All of a sudden some free time emerges and I fill that time with Twitter.
Your wife, Nevin, doesn’t she say anything about you being constantly on Twitter while at home?
She gets angry. She tells me to drop it and go to bed.
How many tweets do you send every day?
It varies, according to what is on the agenda.
How many people have you sued due to Twitter posts?
Isn’t it a pity for those young people of Turkey?
Not at all. Shall I show you their insults?
Yes, there are severe insults going on there. They are young. They act without thinking. But there has to be some tolerance.
No, there cannot be. Each time, I tell them, “Guys, apologize.” They should be able to show the virtue of apologizing.
You are challenging young people; they are not able to stand up to these types of challenges. They will defy you.
Yes, but there are also those who are first to stand up, and then start begging.
What can they do? They may be taken to court, etc. Of course they are afraid.
Have you not sued anyone who has insulted you?
No, I have not. I block whoever insults me. Why don’t you do the same? Just block them.
I do block them sometimes, but I cannot forget those who curse. They simply should not swear.
I also asked Gökçek about the city gates and the 52 clock towers that he has built in Ankara. I told the mayor that the gates and the clock towers should be inspired by the history of the city. If not, they would be “artificial.”
He answered: “History always starts with certain people. In Ankara, it started with the Justice and Development Party [AKP].”
I could not find an answer. I just froze right there.
Melih Gökçek’s wonderland
Gökçek is also building a giant theme park in Ankara named “ANKAPARK.” It will be the largest theme park in the world, with a total area of 1,100,000 square meters, which will take three whole days to tour.
It will have 14 rollercoasters of different sizes. There will be giant sound and visual laser shows; giant tents. A train will pass through the theme park and other transportation will be made by cable car. There will be over 20 all-size cinemas for special shows...
All of the equipment has now arrived and almost half of the giant park is complete. The opening is scheduled for one year from today.