Turkish court rules against Istanbul opposition municipality aid programme

The Turkish Court of Accounts has ruled against an opposition municipality of Istanbul aid programme for mothers of young children, Sözcü newspaper reported on Saturday.

The court found the 100,000 public transportation cards provided to the mothers of children aged zero to four to be in violation of legislation, Sözcü said.

The aid programme was introduced by Istanbul’s opposition mayor, Ekrem İmamoğlu, who came into office after a landslide victory in 2019's local elections.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) mayor’s victory dealth a major blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which along with its Islamist predecessor parties had ruled Turkey’s largest city for city for 25 years.

All authority regarding the provision of free transportation lies with the Turkish president, the court said, including discounted rates provided for the city’s students. The court cited Law No.  4736 on the rates of services and goods in public institutions in its decision. 

The free travel card programme was approved in January of  by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) Council - where the AKP and ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) maintain a majority - pending the approval of the Court of Accounts.