Istanbul to save $8.7 million from 1,247 mothballed cars

The opposition-controlled Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has announced that it will save nearly 50 million liras ($8.7 million) a year by ending contracts for 1,247 vehicles rented by the previous ruling Islamist party administration, Turkish independent news site Diken reported.

“The yearly rental price of the cars we have returned comes to nearly 35.75 million liras, and the fuel expense came to 13.75 million liras, meaning a yearly total saving of 49.5 million liras,” Diken quoted the municipality’s general secretary Yavuz Erkut as saying.

The new main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul mayor, Ekrem İmamoğlu, says the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) administration rented the vehicles from a government-linked business. He says many of the cars were not used for municipal work and in some cases were used by family members of the AKP administration.

The satellite tracking systems on 1,700 municipal vehicles were disabled or had their records wiped between June 2 and June 20, İmamoğlu said.

The mayor won the rerun of the Istanbul mayoral election on June 23 after the AKP successfully appealed to annul the first polls on March 31.

“Why are these vehicles being allocated to certain foundations, institutions, individuals, even families … and why were the records of the vehicles removed from the satellite tracking system over a certain period?” İmamoğlu said.

A statement is coming soon about the fuel expenses of the vehicles, which were supplied by petrol stations contracted by the previous administration, he said.

The CHP administration lined up the vehicles in a large square in Istanbul last week to highlight wasteful spending by the AKP, which along with its predecessor Islamist parties had controlled the city for 25 years since Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, now president, won the mayoral election in 1994.

The new CHP mayor vowed to expose waste and corruption under the AKP during his election campaign. He cut funding worth $60 million to government-linked foundations last month.