Answering the questions of journalists about forest fires, İBB President Ekrem İmamoğlu said, “As the 11 Metropolitan Mayors, they aspire to THK planes, as per the decision we made yesterday, our municipalities demand for the modification, repair, maintenance, repair of our existing planes, even expanding the fleet and getting service from this fleet. We stated that. We also prepare and present our official application today. With the signature of 11 Metropolitan Municipality, we are starting the process today in order to start the negotiations”.
The Transportation Coordination Center (UKOME), whose majority structure in favor of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) was changed by the regulation published on February 19, 2020, rejected the proposal of "conversion of 6 minibuses and 750 taxi minibuses into taxis", which was rejected 250 times before, at the meeting on 29 July 2021. had accepted. A delegation of 20 people, consisting of the heads and managers of minibus and minibus rooms, paid a 'thank you visit' to İBB President Ekrem İmamoğlu for the support he gave them. In the delegation led by Kazım Bilge, President of the Istanbul Minibus Chamber of Craftsmen; Alibeykoy, Arnavutkoy, Avcilar, Bagcilar, Bahcelievler, Bayrampasa, Esenler, Gaziosmanpasa, Gungoren, Halkalı, Sefaköy, Kartal, Kemerburgaz, Küçükçekmece, Sultanbeyli, Dolayoba, Pendik, Tuzla and Ümraniye minibus chambers took part. At the meeting, İmamoğlu was accompanied by IMM Deputy Secretary General Orhan Demir and Head of Transportation Department Utku Cihan.
“I AM SORRY FOR THE TIME ISTANBUL LOST”
Emphasizing that the insufficient number of taxis in Istanbul with a population of 16 million is a reality that is tested every day, İmamoğlu underlined that they are with both citizens and tradesmen in this process. Pointing out that the hikes in transportation are due to the economic policies of the government, İmamoğlu said, “I only regret the time that Istanbul lost in terms of your transformation into a taxi. We stand by our tradesmen, but we stand by our citizens first. Our citizens will receive good service. We see the suffering of the minibus driver for years with distress. He's been through tough times. They have their own systems. How do we improve your van? How do we prepare for 10 years, 20 years; We are working on it too. So we don't let go of it either. And we will produce together. In other words, minibus business was different 50 years ago, it was different 30 years ago; Another place 15 years ago, different now. There will be another 10 later, right? We have to think about these. It's both your business and my friends' business. Here, too, you will see that we will protect your rights in the fairest way possible. But first, we will ensure that our citizens receive good service. In this context, this final decision is good luck.”
ANSWERED THE QUESTIONS OF THE JOURNALISTS
After the meeting, İmamoğlu answered journalists' questions about the agenda. The questions asked to İmamoğlu and the answers of the İBB President were as follows:
As the mayor of 11 metropolitan cities, you made a call to the government and announced that you aspire to the firefighting planes of THK. Has an official application been made for this? Considering the relations between the government and the CHP municipalities, do you think that these planes will be given the responsibility of the municipalities?
“WE ARE GRATEFUL TO EVERYONE WHO FIGHTING”
“To discuss and talk about this issue through the relationship between the government and municipalities means not seeing this problem that the current country is experiencing, and succumbing to one's own personal ambition. For once, we are very burned. So something indescribable. I'm sure everyone is at home, head over heels, brooding over what to do. At this point, we are in an effort to 'what can we do'. Whether in Muğla or Antalya, we are there on behalf of 300 million as Istanbul, with our nearly 16 personnel and our most competent vehicles. Our struggle continues. We are grateful to all our struggling citizens, the forest organization and firefighters there. There were those who lost their lives; I wish you mercy. But at the end of the day, we have to come up with a solution. Our apple of the eye, the Turkish Aeronautical Association (THK), is in the minds of every child in this country. It is one of the most effective and respected institutions throughout the history of the Republic of Turkey. His situation saddens us all. In other words, THK and Kızılay should be institutions that make us all proud. We want to be active in this situation where it comes with these wrong steps taken in this direction.”
“WE WILL SHARE THE PROCESS WITH OUR GENERAL PRESIDENT”
“As the 11 Metropolitan Mayors, we stated that, as per the decision we took yesterday, our municipalities have a demand for the modification, repair, maintenance and repair of our existing aircraft, even expanding the fleet and getting service from this fleet. We are also preparing and presenting our official application today. With the signature of 11 Metropolitan Municipality, we are starting the process today to start the negotiations. Regarding all these developments, we will have a meeting with our Honorable President in Ankara today and we will share this process with them with our mayors. If THK were good, if THK had dozens of planes in their hangars… Especially in this kind of hot period, in a summer period that needs to be monitored through many factors such as the effect of global warming, etc. we say; It is possible. It always happened, it was happening. But we wouldn't be in the situation we're in today. In that respect, we are determined. We will make our application today as well.”
“THIS COUNTRY SHOULD ASK THE RESPONSIBLE”
There is also controversy regarding firefighting efforts. There are calls for help from mayors, international campaigns. There are those who find these calls insulting. How do you see this discussion?
“Wherever there is a fire in the world, whenever we are called, we see it as a human duty to go running. There is no shame in calling such nations. In other words, whatever the disaster, sometimes there were people running to us from Japan for an earthquake or in other disasters; it's not a shame. So it wouldn't be a problem. Of course, we will question those responsible. This country is questionable. Who made us this way? Is it too late to intervene? Were the precautionary measures taken or not? It is clear who is responsible. In other words, the ministries and institutions in this country responsible for the forest are clear. So what's the omission here? What hasn't been done? These are separate. But if our national wealth is to save our burning forests, of course we will be there with all our means. If it is not enough, our neighboring countries will come. People from different parts of the world will come. We will be for solidarity. If they call, won't we go? We go. So this is a human duty. Moreover, what we call global warming and what we call climate change should turn into a human struggle. In other words, it cannot have Istanbul, Turkey, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina or Germany. The common struggle of the whole world. If there's a fire in Africa and they don't have the means, we'll run. If it's not enough, we'll run. What if the United States of America; We will run again. In this respect, I think that all countries should be applauded in this solidarity. It's not about making pride, it's about how to cooperate. That's my view."
“MINISTER REGRETS THEIR WORDS”
It is also on the agenda that political party discrimination was made in some interventions during the fire extinguishing efforts. Do you have such an impression or knowledge?
“We get such sensations from the region. This isn't the first time we've experienced it. Unfortunately, the bureaucracy and the people involved in Turkey's political environment… It even reaches the ministers. Especially the Minister has an unfortunate sentence; 'Municipalities are responsible.' He must have regretted what he said. The law is clear, the article is clear, the matter is clear, who is responsible; clear. In other words, the sentences that say, 'We are responsible, we will intervene even if there is a fire or a spark' are obvious. While there are all these, even the fact that he said this shows the focus of the political view. Let's stay away from this. This is not a matter of politics. If the bureaucracy in this country did their job, if the civil servants of this country did their job, if the governors did their job, if the ministers did their job, if the mayors did their job; You don't need anything else in this country. So I say everywhere: Politics is a tool. Parties are a tool; is not the goal. In other words, if we act with this understanding, this country will not have a problem. We don't squabble so much on any topic we talk about. In this respect, unfortunately, we hear such attitudes and such practices. That's sad too. But we don't speak them too loudly. Sometimes we warn. Because what's the point? Service to our citizens. What's the purpose? To escape the disaster as soon as possible. For God's sake, political discourse, political language, etc., is wrong when dealing with such matters. But we follow, of course. We are following it in a controlled manner.”
“WE WILL ESTABLISH THE SCIENCE AND TECHNICAL COMMITTEE QUICKLY”
“Let me also say this: Of course, our only goal right now is to put out the fire, but as soon as it's over, we will establish a Science and Technical Committee to heal the wounds and to eliminate the failing aspects of the urban services there - and we are prepared at all these points. A strict Science and Technical Board for the 11 Metropolitan Mayors to give a message to the society, to give direction to the municipalities and to call the institutions in addition to this message, and a Scientific and Technical Board that defines the fight against global warming and the fight of forests against fire. At the same time, we will follow up on how these burned areas will be treated and repaired in the best way according to the ecology of that place. In order not to allow a single square meter to be built, a strict follow-up will be made through our municipalities -especially Muğla and Antalya Metropolitan Municipality and our mayors. We will be with them. I hope we will heal the wounds of this process together as soon as possible. But let's not forget this: There are people responsible for this business. There are omissions in this business. It looks clear. We will also follow up on the investigation of this matter, the person who is the owner of the negligence, and the punishment of this by the law. Of course, it has boards, it has institutions. We can only call. We definitely want this to be audited and followed.”