Syrian refugees should obey Turkey’s laws: AKP Istanbul mayoral candidate Yıldırım
İpek Özbey - ISTANBUL
“As Turkey, we have hosted 3.5 million Syrians who escaped war to save their lives. We never have and will feel regret from our humanitarian mission. This unswerving tone is our identity’s need,” he told Hürriyet over the weekend.
Yıldırım said Turkey’s wish is for Syrians to return to their homes once the conditions are appropriate.
“Of course, our guests must obey the laws of the host country. If someone acts in an unlawful manner, they will absolutely be punished,” he said.
“We will not tolerate anyone’s unlawfulness,” he added.
When asked if he would resign from his post as a parliament speaker, Yıldırım said what’s important to him right now is public service.
“I do not want to be the subject of a debate that will waste the nation’s time when going to the polls, before the formal process is completed. Our citizens do not have such thing on their agenda,” he said.
Yıldırım’s candidacy while still a parliament speaker received an avalanche of criticisms from opposition groups which called it a violation of the Turkish constitution.
Article 94 of the Turkish constitution stipulates that the parliament speaker cannot partake in the activities of the political party that he is a member of.
“We are on the field to govern Istanbul, we are among our citizens. Our only motivation is to provide public service. Our decisions only determine how and in what way these services will be provided,” Yıldırım added.
The mayoral candidate, who was also a prime minister until 2018, also stressed that he is not after power.
“Everybody knows what kind of a struggle I have shown to abolish the Prime Ministry post after the transition to the new system. Sticking to a post is the last thing that can be said for me,” he said, referring to the constitutional amendment of 2017 in which the Prime Ministry was dismantled and all its authorities were transferred to the president.
Yıldırım also vowed to develop prudential and social projects for Istanbul, in accordance with the advancing technology, that will meet the demands of citizens from all segments.
“Istanbul means Turkey. I am indebted to serve this beautiful city,” Yıldırım said.
“Providing service to Istanbul is something to envy. Thus, there was no need for convincing,” he said, when asked if he had to be persuaded to run for mayor in Istanbul.
The parliament speaker also underlined that “generation Z” has quite different expectations than older generations.
“They want to talk about artificial intelligence and robots, hence, their expectations from municipal work are much more different,” he said.
“I wish to make our youth’s dreams come true, not mine,” he added.
Yıldırım expressed that he imagines an Istanbul in which the youth is happy and looks at the future more securely.
“An Istanbul that is acknowledged by its leadership in science and arts… An Istanbul that produces more,” he said.
“We need to carefully protect the people, the vegetation, animal rights and environment without disrupting the city’s characteristics,” the mayoral candidate stressed.
Yıldırım said that transportation is his area of expertise and eliminating the issues in transportation and public transit is his priority.
“This is a common demand from Istanbul residents,” he said.
Yıldırım stressed that Istanbul’s main issue is the lack of parking spaces.
He also said that parking spaces will be built near transfer stations.
“Traffic will not stop. It will not be 80 km/h, but it will definitely move,” he said.
“We will reduce the stopping time. The wait will be reduced to 25 minutes from 45 minutes,” he added.
The mayoral candidate stressed that transportation problem can also be solved via public transit.
“There is a 13-rail project that will be finished in five years. When completed, Istanbul’s rail-system will be 450 kilometers long. Istanbul will be a city in which public transit will fully function,” he said.