Deutsche Bank to provide $121 million financing for Istanbul metro project

The municipality of Istanbul has secured 110 million euros ($121 million) of financing from Deutsche Bank for an underground transport project, mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said on Sunday.

The loan, for an ongoing project on the Asian side of Istanbul, exceeds the amount initially discussed, Diken news site quoted the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) mayor as saying in a meeting with members of the press. 

İmamoğlu also touched on the municipality’s finances, which he said were burdened by debt incurred by the previous ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) administration.

“We have taken over from a badly-administered last five years. At this time, the municipality has debt totalling 28 billion lira ($4.9 billion),’’ İmamoğlu said

İmamoğlu became mayor of Istanbul in June after defeating Binali Yıldırım, the candidate of the ruling Islamist AKP, in controversial re-election. 

İmamoğlu’s victory delivered a big blow to the AKP, which, along with this Islamist predecessor, had ruled Turkey’s largest city for 25 years.

The CHP mayor said that the Istanbul municipality was wrapping up a difficult year.

“It was a very important year in terms of interest and paying debt. Our friends have taken very important precautions. I will share the details with you on Dec. 23… We will explain to you how we are trying to balance the budget by preventing extravagance,’’ the CHP mayor said.

İmamoğlu, since stepping into office, has increasingly put under the spotlight the extravagant spending by the Istanbul municipality and the vast amounts it has transferred to charitable foundations during the quarter of a century of Islamist rule in the city.

AKP’s funding for charitable foundations made headlines as Turkey geared up for municipal elections at the beginning of the year. A report compiled by the Istanbul municipality in January showed that 848 million liras ($ 145.6 million) had been transferred to a list of foundations during the previous two-years of the AKP-led administration.