Jul 01 2019

Opposition Ankara mayor says may talk with Erdoğan over loss of powers

The new mayor of Turkey’s capital, Ankara, on Monday said he may talk to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan if the mayoral ability to make appointments to municipal companies is permanently revoked, news site Duvar reported.

One of the main problems faced by opposition-led municipalities previously governed by Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is the restricted mayoral power to appoint officials to the companies run by municipalities.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Mansur Yavaş won the Ankara mayor’s seat on March 31, marking an end to rule by the AKP and its predecessors since 1994.

But Yavaş has had difficulty appointing new administrators to municipality-run companies because AKP councilmen still make up a majority in the city council, which must approve such appointments. 

Last week, Ankara’s council passed a motion to transferring from the mayor to the council the authority to make such appointments. But Yavaş has yet to put the motion into effect, arguing that the mayor takes responsibility for mismanagement, and thus should have the power of appointments.

Now Turkey’s parliament has drafted an amendment that would this transfer of power a national law. Yavaş said if the AKP insists on such a change, he would request an appointment from the presidential office and discuss the matter with Erdoğan himself, according to Duvar.

Yavaş said he merely sought to replace some administrators of municipality-run companies to reduce costs and waste.

Erdoğan's AKP lost to the main opposition secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) five of Turkey’s six largest cities, including Ankara and Istanbul, the country's financial hub.

Erdoğan has pointed out that his party maintains the majority in city councils that had been granted sweeping powers by presidential decrees - meaning the council could take over the mayor's post if deemed necessary.