Istanbul Mayor Says He Can Convince Erdogan not to Build Canal Istanbul

The President yesterday urged Imamoglu to abide by the government's decision, otherwise, he will be held accountable.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu has said that he could convince President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to build Canal Istanbul.

"I am sure I would convince him," he told reporters at a visit to a subway construction site, adding that they oppose the canal project because they think the priority should be given to projects that could not be completed because of lack of funds.

He also noted that he has not been able to receive a response to his request for a meeting with the president since he was elected mayor in June.

When asked about Erdogan's remarks that he is not authorized to make a decision on the canal project, Imamoglu said, "Frankly, I would expect Mr. President to be more explanatory. But we still hear similar statements. I didn't understand anything from the statements on Canal Istanbul."

Erdogan said yesterday (December 26) that Canal Istanbul is a "project of the state" and Imamoglu, in accordance with his responsibilities, should abide by decisions that were made by the government, otherwise, he would be "held accountable."

"Of course, we have responsibilities to the state. To some [state] agencies, to the Court of Accounts, to the Council of the State... I am the mayor," Imamoglu said, adding that he will answer to the 16 million people of Istanbul.

The Board of Inspection and Survey of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization on December 23 approved the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report of the Canal Istanbul project, which foresees an artificial sea-level waterway across the city from Black Sea to Marmara Sea.

Source: English Bianet