Istanbul hits back after ruling party slams water pricing plan

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu told reporters that city councillors from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had put on a show by voting against the new water pricing plan put forth by his municipality, Turkish news site Diken reported on Friday.

İmamoğlu raised overall water prices in the new plan, which drew criticism from media outlets close to the government and which was rejected by the AKP councillors.

İmamoğlu said the AKP’s city council members were acting on orders, and that they should have asked their superiors in the party why they had not objected to price hikes in fuel or natural gas in parliament, where the AKP’s coalition holds a majority.

The municipality had originally planned a three-tiered water pricing plan where lower-income households would pay proportionally less, the mayor said.

“We did a price reduction for water, but during the interim period where my duties were taken from me for a while, they took away the tier system,” he added.

The system that the interim AKP municipality enacted between the local elections in March, when İmamoğlu was first elected, and June, when İmamoğlu secured his seat with a landslide victory in his re-election, resulted in lower-income consumers paying higher bills and vice versa, İmamoğlu said.