The new mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, says a top priority for him will be to inspect whether public funds were misused while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party, the AKP, controlled the country’s largest city for over two decades.
Imamoglu, a member of Turkey’s main opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), told foreign journalists on Friday during his first full day as mayor that his office would hire domestic and international auditing companies to look at five to 10 years of public records.
“If we find anything, we will of course communicate this with the public,” Imamoglu said.
Yusuf Sarfati, an associate professor of comparative politics at Illinois State University and originally from Istanbul, said one of Imamoglu’s top priorities will be to take on the patronage system.
“I think the [biggest] campaign promise that appealed to people was his emphasis to make the government or municipality more transparent,” Sarfati told The Media Line. “That will be something to watch in the future, but I imagine there will be quite a political battle between him and the AKP.”
The biggest foreign media outlets gathered to hear from the mayor at the Friday press conference, another sign of the high profile he has garnered from his shock victory.
Imamoglu won the mayorship last week, being given almost 800,000 more votes than his AKP opponent, former prime minister Binali Yildirim, a close ally of the president.