Istanbul’s new mayor calls on heads of municipality subsidiaries to resign

Istanbul’s mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu on Friday criticised the heads of municipality subsidiaries appointed by the former ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mayors for not resigning from their posts, independent news site Bianet reported.

İmamoğlu became the mayor of Turkey’s financial powerhouse of Istanbul after winning a controversial Istanbul election rerun on June 23. Istanbul was controlled by the AKP and its predecessors for 25 years.

After his authorisation, the new mayor called on all 28 subsidiaries of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality to gather their general boards and elect new administrative boards.

İmamoğlu said in Ankara that 10 officials of the municipality, who had resigned from their posts following his authorisation, remained president of the administrative boards of municipality’s most important 10 companies.

The Istanbul municipality controls 28 affiliated companies with a total annual turnover estimated at 24 billion lira ($4.2 billion).

“The companies control almost two-thirds of the budget and there is an unreasonable resistance right now about those companies,” the new mayor said.

“We send official notifications for general boar meeting calls, they use the maximum period available. We cannot know what will happen during that time,” İmamoğlu added.

İmamoğlu accused the heads of companies refusing to resign of unfairly continuing to receive salaries, adding that he also asked for a meeting with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss matters related to Istanbul municipality.

After losing local polls in five of Turkey’s six most populous provinces, the government attempted last month to curb mayors’ powers by a circular that transferred the power of mayors to appoint senior officials of municipality companies to municipal assemblies. The AKP managed to retain majorities in many council assemblies, including in Istanbul. An administrative court later halted the implementation of the circular.

Mevlüt Bulut, the former general secretary of the municipality, replied to İmamoğlu’s accusations on Saturday in a written statement. Bulut, who was one of the names targeted by the new mayor, said he had resigned from his post a few months ago and his term as the head of a municipality company had already ended.