Erdoğan may wrest contracts from municipalities after election setback

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may end municipal control and oversight over public contracts after losing Istanbul and the capital Ankara in local elections, columnist Çiğdem Toker wrote.

The Ministry of Interior is reportedly preparing a draft law transferring responsibility for larger contracts to the presidential palace, Toker said in Sözcü newspaper on Wednesday.

The governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) and an Islamist predecessor have ruled Ankara and Istanbul for 25 years and they have dished out highly lucrative contracts to businesses apparently without due regard for the law, Toker said. Incoming mayors would naturally examine the books of the municipalities, acting in the public interest to ensure their money was spent correctly, she said.

Turkey’s election board is considering appeals by the AKP against the results of the local elections in the country’s two largest cities. Recounts are currently taking place in eight districts of Istanbul, Turkey's main commercial hub.