As a rare occasion in Turkey’s highly polarized political atmosphere, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received main opposition CHP’s Istanbul mayoral candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu at his palace in Ankara, the Turkish capital.
İmamoğlu, a member of main opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP), is currently the mayor of Beylikdüzü, a district of İstanbul in the European side.
It was İmamoglu’s request to meet Erdogan, as he is visiting all former metropolitan mayors of Istanbul including the President.
Following the 50-minute talk, İmamoğlu explained: “The President and I spoke about problems faced by İstanbul. I demanded his vote of confidence on me. I also gave him some advice about ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) İstanbul Metropolitan mayor candidate Binali Yıldırım, the parliament speaker.”
Imamoğlu said the meeting with Erdoğan was useful as common wishes are to start the election process with minimum faults.
“Bad effects of vertical structuring, transformation needed”
Pointing out their speech on vertical structuring, İmamoğlu expressed that we arrived at an agreement on the bad effects of vertical structuring in which we need a transformation.
“There can be differences, but good dialogues leave a mark”
He said Erdoğan emphasised his success and communication skills with citizens during his first tenure, a point the mayor agreed with. “During that term, I was living in Istanbul. There can be some dissidents, but good dialogues certainly leave a mark. I also said I choose serving people by staying equal to all citizenry during my term,” said İmamoğlu.
He said the leaders in government, they also touch on the importance of having a free and fair election, in a civilized way. “I conveyed some information to Erdoğan concerning my phone conversation with the parliament speaker which ‘mutually confirmed’ it should continue this way. We spoke about projects and he (Erdoğan) is also a fellow citizen,” added İmamoğlu.
“Yıldırım can face difficulties in Istanbul with his MoP position”
Asked about the issue of Yildirim resigning due to his candidacy and current position as the speaker of Parliament, İmamoğlu said the ball was in the former’s court. “There is a legal matter. I don’t know what kind of right the law gives. But he can face difficulties in İstanbul streets with his ‘Member of Parliament position.”
I suggest that he visits the streets of İstanbul as a candidate position. I am doing that. I am visiting people as a candidate and set up a dialogue with İstanbulites. İstanbulites are satisfied with this.”
Turkey will put the ballot boxes once again at the end of this March to elect mayors, city councils, and local authorities. The upcoming local elections will be the last ring of polls before a scheduled general election in 2023.