Mayor Soyer's live-streamed disapproval marked the second session of the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Council in April. City Council AK Party Group SözcüUpon the claim of Özgür Hızal that the works on the Narlıdere metro construction have stopped, President Soyer, the contractor company Gülermak A.Ş. He made a video call to Deputy Project Manager Serhan Arda. Arda at the construction site said that the works continue with 611 workers. The working images at the construction site were reflected in the assembly hall in live broadcast.
The second session of the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Council in April was held today. İzmir Metropolitan Municipality and ESHOT General Directorate's 2021 annual reports were voted and accepted. Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer's live broadcast disclaimer left its mark. City Council AK Party Group SözcüUpon the claim of Özgür Hızal that the works on the Narlıdere metro construction stopped, the President Tunç Soyer, the contractor firm Gülermak A.Ş. He video-called Deputy Project Manager Serhan Arda and asked how the work was going. Arda at the construction site said, “Our work continues on the Narlıdere metro line, my President. I'm at Dokuz Eylül station right now. My friends continue on the night shift. We are also inspecting them. We have 611 employees at our construction site day and night.” President Soyer stated that they will visit the construction site next week to examine the works of Narlıdere Metro. The working images at the construction site were reflected in the assembly hall in live broadcast.
He explained his activities in 2021
Mayor Soyer also talked about the highlights of the activities of the Metropolitan Municipality in 2021 at the session. Emphasizing the importance of the concepts of “courage” and “harmony”, Soyer said: “These two words that seem to contradict each other are a brief summary of the stance we have taken in İzmir for three years. Because it takes courage to defend harmony over personal interests. It is an act of courage to advocate harmony with nature and one another, rather than taking refuge in everyday, narrow, stereotypical dogmas. Saying goodbye to each other and defending the common mind is unfortunately a matter of courage in our country. Saying that we will adapt with change actually means 'We did not come here to swim in safe waters'. It is to put a stick in the wheel of the order. Talking about harmony with the past is an act of courage in this country. Using conscience and politics side by side in the same sentence requires being brave. It is a mirror of courage to defend fraternity and peace instead of striving, dividing and tearing apart," he said.
Emphasizing that these two concepts will be needed more in the coming years both in İzmir and in Turkey, President Soyer concluded his speech as follows: “We know that without having these two, we cannot complete any of the activities we aim for, neither the subways, nor the roads, nor the others. Without courage and harmony, we cannot ensure the growth of prosperity and fair distribution in this city. You will see, 2022 will be a year when we increase courage and harmony even more. In this way, we will fulfill all and more of the promises we made to the people of Izmir in the best way possible.”
President Tunç SoyerThe full text of his speech is as follows:
It has been 8 years and 2019 days since I received my mandate on April 3, 5. In this time that has passed, we have faced many things together that will make you say that this is not possible. İzmir experienced one of the biggest forest fires in its history and the October 30 earthquake. Turkey has once again seen the economic crisis and devaluation. The world has experienced one of the greatest pandemics in human history. The invisible creature called the coronavirus has shaken human civilization, which we believe to be perfect, from top to bottom. The climate crisis has entered our lives more sharply than ever before in the last three years. Frankly, I do not see it as a misfortune that all this coincides with my three-year term as the Mayor of the Metropolitan Municipality. They say... A good captain can't come out of calm waters. I think that these disasters we have experienced carry opportunities for those who know how to learn.
“The most important thing we need is courage”
The last three years have been a mirror that hits the wrongs that we know to be right, one by one. It was a historic turning point to question our civilization that brought the world to the brink of extinction. This three-year period, which is short and the scars are very deep, was perhaps humanity's last exit before the bridge in order to reconcile with life. And what's more, this period we lived in was a historical opportunity to dream of a new Izmir together. We saw that the most important thing we need to change İzmir and the world for the better: Courage. It is not brave to say "I can do better" and to look down on each other. In the twenty-first century, it is no longer considered courage to defy this or that. Courage… It is a total rebellion against this order established by those who go hungry while their neighbor is hungry. It is breaking all the rules that serve the interests of a group of minorities, not the society. Courage… It is standing next to nature that is plundered to feed greedy bosses, women who are victims of male violence, those who go to bed hungry, those who are persecuted for having different language, beliefs and ideas. Courage… It is defending brotherhood and peace without giving up, despite hundreds of excuses that keep us apart. It is to glorify common sense and solidarity.
Our dream is to increase the prosperity of İzmir and to ensure its fair distribution.
It was with such courage that we went over the problems we faced in the past three years. We followed our common problems, not daily interests. Because we have one big dream for our city: to increase the prosperity of İzmir and to ensure its fair distribution. We laid out the roadmap to achieve this goal in our 2019-2020 strategic plan, which was passed unanimously by our Assembly in September 2024. This plan consists of 7 strategic goals and 27 targets that are 2021% compatible with the United Nations' sustainable development goals. Our seven strategic goals are: Infrastructure, Quality of Life, Economy, Democracy, Nature, Learning by Living and Culture and Arts. In 60, we performed seventy percent or more on most of these strategic objectives. We only stayed in the XNUMX percent band in our strategic goal of quality of life. The reason for this is that most of the activities under this title cannot be carried out due to pandemic measures. We describe these activities one by one in our official report.
We poured 958 thousand 791 tons of asphalt
Our roads and infrastructure are the first pillar of our strategic goal. Despite the increase in diesel and asphalt prices by more than one hundred percent in one year, we implemented a total of 2021 tons of asphalt in 582.590, of which 376.201 tons of coating, 958.791 thousand tons of patch and trench. We have reached 1.5 square meters by exceeding our 1.734.404 million square meter target in parquet coating. The total square meter of the land roads we built in 2021 is 1 million 181 thousand 41. İzmir Metropolitan Municipality managed to renew İzmir's roads rapidly in 2021 despite the exorbitant increase in construction costs.
“We started the biggest urban transformation move in İzmir history”
One of the main pillars of our infrastructure strategic goal is, of course, urban transformation. Izmir is one of our cities that has been the victim of unplanned construction for more than fifty years. The city, which grew with zoning amnesties without considering the transportation infrastructure, has turned into a giant concrete pile. Neighborhoods devoid of green and social spaces are knotted together. Now we untie this knot with patience and care. With the principle of on-site transformation based on one hundred percent consensus, we started the biggest urban transformation move in the history of İzmir in 2021. Transformation started simultaneously in six regions, namely Gaziemir, Ege Mahallesi, Uzundere, Ballıkuyu, Çiğli Güzeltepe and Örnekköy, and continues. We started the construction of 3958 independent units, and made 2500 independent units ready for the construction tender. As of last March, we have accelerated further by signing 4 separate contracts in a short period of 3 months.
We are producing new and permanent solutions that have never been applied before for urban transformation under the difficult economic conditions I have been through in the construction sector. First of all, we commissioned our municipality company, İzBeton, in the construction of these projects. Then we partnered with our business world for urban transformation and started working with building cooperatives.
We are establishing brand new earthquake-resistant neighborhoods of our city under the guarantor of our Municipality, without sacrificing anyone's rights for rent, without bringing our citizens and contractors face to face.
Our Emergency Solution Team is also at work for green areas
In our strategic plan adopted in 2019, we made an innovative policy decision and defined green spaces as an infrastructure issue. We consider our green infrastructure goal as a whole with urban transformation and we are expanding our city's green areas network step by step. We use two methods to develop the green areas of İzmir. On the one hand, we transform the waterways connecting the gulf to the interior into ecological corridors and bring them together with living parks. On the other hand, thanks to our Emergency Solution Team, we describe the parking needs in our backyards and build them quickly. This figure stands at 2021 as they plan to build eight new parks in 33. Many of these parks were identified by our Emergency Resolution Team.
Another innovation that we have started in our green areas is the use of trees and shrubs belonging to the nature of İzmir instead of foreign plants in the park landscape. These plants, which do not need irrigation, enable us to fight drought and save money. In 2021, our cooperatives started to produce these plants in large numbers and we will see more of our local trees such as oak, sandal, pine and menengiç in the parks of İzmir in the coming period.
This project will reduce our irrigation expenditures in the parks by at least half in the medium term and will save 20 million liras annually. Moreover, it will protect our limited drinking water resources.
“We are solving Yeşildere”
Tonight I want to give you good news. We are solving one of İzmir's long-standing problems, Yeşildere. Expo 2026, which constitutes the most important pillar of İzmir's green infrastructure strategy, will come to life in Yeşildere. Turkey's first major green transformation project will start in this valley and the region will turn into an Expo 2026 area in four years. Abandoned to its fate, Yeşildere will serve as our new green area, larger than Kültürpark. Yeşildere will soon welcome participants from all over the world and will be a new employment area. We have reached the international agreement on this issue in 2021 and at the beginning of 2022 with the world botanical Expo organization AIPH. We have also started negotiations with the rights holders in the region. I am proud and happy to share with you on this historical evening our project that will shape the destiny of our city. We will present this bill to the agenda of our Assembly with a proposal tomorrow. I expect the full support of our Assembly members in order to achieve this new goal of Izmir together.
Our focus is on the metro network
The most important topic of "quality of life", which is our second strategic goal, is undoubtedly rail systems. While the transportation cost per passenger of our metro lines was 2,87 liras, this figure reached 9,91 liras in rubber-wheeled transportation. That's why we put the metro network at the center of our work program. We developed our projects, obtained the necessary approvals from the central government, and obtained financial resources. Within two years, we completed the excavation of the Narlıdere metro tunnel and started new metro investments in five new routes.
Along with Narlıdere Metro, Çiğli Tram is under construction. In the centennial year of our Republic, we will have put both lines into service. The 28-kilometer Karabağlar Gaziemir Metro, the 27.5-kilometer Otogar Kemalpaşa Metro and the 5 km-long Örnekköy New Girne Tram Line are the new routes we will bring to İzmir.
And finally, we started the construction of Buca Metro. A total of 93 billion liras will be spent on our six rail system project, which is 32 kilometers long. When we complete these projects, our rail system network in İzmir will increase to 270 kilometers. Thanks to our municipality's strong financial structure and high credit rating, we obtained an international investment loan of 490 million Euros for the Buca Metro. We will repay this loan in 12 years, with four years of principal repayment. The expected annual operating income from the Buca Metro, which will cost 765 million Euros with its trains, is approximately 45 million Euros. Buca Metro is one of the most affordable metro investments in the world. While it takes 30 years for a subway to finance itself around the world, we will do it in less than half the time.
“I fully support the decision of our tender commission”
As you all know, the consortium with the second lowest bid won the tender for our metro. This decision was made by strictly following the European Development Bank's regulation on extremely low bids, and its accuracy was confirmed by the independent auditor appointed by the Bank.
Receiving big project tenders such as the Buca Metro with extremely low bids has two consequences in Turkey and around the world. The project is completed far above the anticipated cost and in a much longer time. Sometimes it's halfway. This is why the European Development Bank's regulation on extremely low offers exists. The bank applies this regulation to all investment loans and the tender is awarded to the lowest bid that is considered realistic. In summary, my friends, the decision taken by our tender commission is 25% compatible with our laws and international rules. The lawsuit already filed does not include the request for the cancellation of the tender either. The claim put forward in the case is that the information regarding the assessment made is insufficient. Upon this claim, the European Development Bank once again confirmed that the decision was in compliance with the rules in its statement dated March XNUMX.
I fully support the decision of our tender commission regarding the Buca Metro. By making this decision, our commission has fulfilled the legal procedures, but has achieved much more. The completion of the metro construction on time and within the planned budget is guaranteed. Let no one doubt. Instead of a construction site that will never close, we will leave a monumental Metro line that ends just in time. We will not let Izmir experience what happened during the construction of our first metro line. By keeping our promise, we will bring the people of Izmir together with the Buca Metro on time.
We bought 457 new buses with the most profitable investment in ESHOT history
ESHOT General Directorate, which has the largest share in Izmir's public transportation, offered brand new solutions in public transportation in this challenging year. Although the loss of revenue in our public transportation organizations was at least 745 million liras during the pandemic, we did not stop our investments. We added 652 new buses to our fleet by making the most lucrative investment in ESHOT history with a cost of 457 million TL. With these purchases, we achieved an average age of 5,47 years in our vehicles that serve every day and established one of the youngest bus fleets in Europe. Our young fleet has borne fruit by consuming 6 million liters less fuel per year. This means a savings of approximately 114 million liras. On the other hand, we have completely renewed our 426 buses, from the engine to the seat, with the sweat of our workers and our own resources in our workshop. It is our greatest pride that our entire bus fleet is suitable for disabled access. In addition, we provided the opportunity to carry two wheelchairs at the same time by making revisions on 126 buses in our fleet. We developed a mobile application that eliminates barriers in public transportation with our own resources and ensured that our visually impaired citizens get on our buses without any problems. We put 23 new lines into service with the improvement of the expanding line network and increased our total number of lines to 2021 in 363.
In order to meet the access needs of all settlements of the city, we work together with our transport unions and cooperatives, and our tradesmen. Our “İZTAŞIT” project, which we started in Seferihisar and carried to Kiraz, will soon reach other districts of Menemen and İzmir.
Despite the fact that there has been a 336% increase in fuel oil since the day we took office, we have stood by our people, who have been bent over by the pandemic and the high cost of living. We did not increase public transport tariffs from April 2019 to December 2021. On the contrary, we have enabled our citizens to benefit from the tariffs with 50% discount with the application of Halk Taxis and we continue this practice.
We proceeded step by step to the solution of the parking problem.
When I came to office, I promised to solve Izmir's parking problem. Over the past few years, we have moved step by step towards this goal. We opened the Selvili Car Park in Karabağlar, with a capacity of 20 vehicles and 160 motorcycles, with a cost of approximately 38 million liras. Then, we put the underground car park with a capacity of 153 vehicles into service at the Yeşilyurt Mustafa Necati Cultural Center. In the city, we put into service an open car park with a capacity of 4 thousand 75 vehicles. Together with the Smyrna Car Park, which has a capacity of 636 vehicles, we have offered indoor and outdoor car parks with a capacity of over 5 thousand vehicles in the last three years to the service of our compatriots.
While investing in public transportation, we are expanding the bicycle and pedestrian transportation network throughout the city. In İzmir, we integrate cycling as a mode of transportation with public transportation. While planning 2021 kilometers of new bike paths in 15, this figure has been approximately 27 kilometers. We opened 25 new points in three years and increased the number of BISIM stations from 35 to 60. We increased the number of bicycles from 400 to 890. In this context, we put tandem and children's bicycles into service for the first time.
Sports training for 30 thousand children in 40 different branches
An important part of our strategic goal of quality of life is our investments in sports. In 2021, we provided material support to 1500 schools. Despite the pandemic conditions, we provided sports training to 30 thousand children in 40 different branches. Our goal this year is to reach 60 thousand more children.
Our Emergency Response teams for stray animals are on duty 7/24
We humans do not owe mercy to living things in nature, but justice. Our Emergency Response teams are on duty 7/24 for stray animals living on the street and getting sick. In the last three years, 72 thousand stray animals have been examined and 22 thousand stray animals have been operated within the body of our municipality. We distributed 365 tons of food in three years. We have increased the number of veterinarians working in our municipality. We established our second operating room in Kültürpark Small Animal Polyclinic. With the partnership we have established with the Izmir Chamber of Veterinarians, we continue our efforts even more strongly.
A first in Turkey: We started using renewable energy with İZETAS
As soon as we took office, we gave priority to projects that reduce energy consumption and turn to renewable energy sources. We started to use renewable energy with İZENERJİ, which we established within the body of İZENERJİ, breaking new ground in Turkey. At the same time, we achieved significant savings in the energy costs of the Municipality. With IZETAŞ, we have reduced our electricity budget by 22 percent per year by protecting our metropolitan municipality against the exorbitant profit rates of energy companies.
When our project is completed, the income provided by İZETAŞ to our Municipality in a year will be 297 million TL. This figure means 1 billion 485 million in five years. That means kilometers of new metro tunnels, roads, viaducts, tunnels, treatment and green space investments for İzmir. There is only one secret to this great success achieved with very modest means. When we run our city, we only think about the interests of our people.
“Garbage is now an energy source for our city”
We have put an end to the period when garbage was a waste in İzmir. Thanks to our innovative projects, garbage is now an energy source for our city. We put into service the Biogas Facility, which has the capacity to generate electricity for 190 thousand households in Harmandalı. In Bergama and Ödemiş, we started to generate electrical energy from waste in our integrated waste management facilities. In this regard, we are pioneers for the whole of Turkey. The energy we produce in our three facilities corresponds to the electricity consumption of 364 households.
We doubled the number of 2022 fairs
The main problem of our country is the collapse of the economy and poverty. For this reason, our strategic goal of economy occupies a more privileged place in this period we are going through. Our fairs, which we carry out with the help of İZFAŞ, the activity of our municipality that provides the biggest contribution to the economy of İzmir region and country. İzmir has been a city of fairs since the Economics Congress. Our fair organization, which is the solution to the deepening economic crisis in our country after the pandemic and the bottleneck experienced by almost every sector, made a great contribution to our exports in 2021. İzmir became the fourth largest exporting city in Turkey. Our fair organization İZFAŞ, which has succeeded in establishing a bond between Izmir and the world, has undertaken a major role in the realization of this success. In 2021, we organized fairs covering all sectors from agriculture to furniture, from raw materials to shoes and tourism. In 2022, we will double the number of our fairs and continue to bring İzmir together with the world this year as well.
We will introduce our local products to the world with Terra Madre
We are connecting two important sectors, fair organization and agriculture, with Terra Madre Anadolu, which we will organize at Kültürpark as part of the 91st Izmir International Fair. Thanks to Terra Madre, we will promote the local products of İzmir and Anatolia to the whole world. We will turn our small producer into a direct exporter.
Terra Madre Anadolu will be an event where our agricultural investments, which we have elaborated throughout 2021, are crowned.
The key to combating drought and poverty: İzmir Agriculture
We are writing a brand new story that will set an example for our country with İzmir Agriculture, which we built within the framework of the vision of Another Agriculture is Possible. For us, İzmir Agriculture is the key to combating drought and poverty and is one of the main strategies of local development.
Now I want to ask you, the council members of this city. Why is 5 lira support given for a decare of silage corn when the underground waters have decreased from 300 meters to 100 meters in every corner of İzmir, in the Küçük Menderes Basin, in Gediz and Bakırçay? Someone needs to explain this to us, to this assembly. As you all know, one root of the silage plant consumes 85 liters of water. And we know that the main cause of drought in our basins is imported and GMO seeds such as silage corn that consume excessive water. The only group that benefits from the use of these seeds is foreign seed companies. So what are we doing in Izmir? By changing the seed, which is the starting point of agriculture, we both develop our villagers and protect our water resources.
We protect the interests of our country and our citizens, rather than only the interests of a group of agricultural companies. We are building Turkey's domestic and national agricultural policy with İzmir Agriculture.
Instead of subsidizing 100 lira per decare of silage corn that we depend on foreign countries, we support our ancestral seeds. We protect our native animal breeds. We are growing small cattle breeding.
Dairy factory with a capacity of 100 tons per day in Bayındır
You may say, why does the municipality make a shepherd inventory? Very simple. To take care of our empty villages and to fight poverty and hunger in our city. Moreover, to protect our destroyed water resources. Our Mera İzmir team knocked on the door of 4658 shepherds one by one. He visited them in their corrals. Instead of silage corn, it determined the producers who do not want water, who make domestic fodder crops and livestock. We buy the milk produced by those shepherds at almost double the price. We give 6 liras to goat's milk with a market of 10 liras, and 8 liras to sheep's milk whose market is 11 liras. Our municipal company, İzTarm, will process these healthy milks in the 100-ton-per-day dairy factory we set up in Bayındır. These products will reach poor neighborhoods all over our city. Our villagers will develop, the poor will be fed, and our water, land and national wealth will be protected. What we do is that simple. Instead of succumbing to someone's patented seeds, we return to our essence. This is what we say and do by saying "Another Agriculture". Believe me, this policy not only binds us, but also transforms our other stakeholders. As a matter of fact, these prices given by the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality were also taken as a basis by the sheep and goat unions. The study not only created direct income for the producers, but also regulated the milk prices in our region. While tens of our producers were going to stop producing sheep and goats, they gave up and just as many started again. In the Mera İzmir project, we allocated a budget of 105 million TL only for milk purchases. Together with the facilities we have established and other purchases, the total budget allocated by our Municipality to support pasture livestock is 295 million Turkish Liras. Terra Madre Anadolu, which will take place in September 2022, will be the moment when small producers come together and Turkish agriculture meets the world again.
“Cruise ships are starting to come to our city again tomorrow”
At the beginning of 2020 in Izmir, we had a very good momentum in tourism in the first two months. However, as of March 2020, the global pandemic stopped this activity completely. We have never seen the pandemic process as a waiting period. With the partnership of all our tourism stakeholders, we formed a city alliance and prepared our tourism strategy. History, culture, nature, gastronomy and rural tourism stand out in our tourism strategy. Because İzmir has a tremendous potential in this sense. In 2021, we implemented the Visit İzmir application with the support of İzmir Foundation, Sun Express and İzmir Development Agency. In Visit İzmir, Turkey's first digital tourism inventory, millions of tourists can access information about more than 2 points with a single click. Happily, as a result of our initiatives, cruise ships are starting to come to our city again as of tomorrow, and this year 300 ships will arrive in Izmir. We will meet the first one tomorrow morning. In addition to the preparations we carried out in İzmir Alsancak Port before the voyages that will contribute significantly to the city's economy, we established a new unit called the Tourism Police Department.
The four tourism offices we established in 2021 will allow visitors to Izmir to travel comfortably in touristic areas. Along with cruise ships, direct flights started to meet with İzmir. As of now, it is possible to fly directly to 23 destinations, 48 domestic and 71 international. With the Direkt İzmir portal we established, we share the direct flights launched by all airline companies with İzmir.
Support for the movie industry
We started to support creative industries, especially cinema, under the heading of economy. Through our İzmir Cinema Office, we collaborated on the production of eight feature films, hosted six TV series in İzmir, took part in the production of ten short films, and held 16 cinema events. We are proceeding step by step to make İzmir one of the new centers where the heart of cinema beats.
“We held the Turkey Headmen's Meeting in Izmir”
Democracy is our fourth strategic goal. With our belief that democracy starts locally, we held the Turkey Headmen's Meeting in Izmir in October 2021. Nearly 2 headmen from different provinces of Turkey came together to identify local democracy problems and develop solutions. “Equal citizenship” and “fair sharing of welfare” were the most fundamental issues we adopted for İzmir in our election manifesto. In this direction, we have created a special action plan for the back quarters of Izmir, where disadvantaged communities live. 2021 has been a very important year in which we saw the fruits of this action plan.
With our Emergency Solution Team, we made it easier for citizens to reach the municipality.
Our Emergency Solution Team quickly resolved the problems of our disadvantaged neighborhoods in the city center. We have transformed our resources, which are created by the taxes of our people, into services that are in line with their demands and most importantly, of their own decision. Thanks to the Emergency Solution Team, we have removed the barrier of citizens to reach the municipality. We took the municipality to their neighborhood, to their house, to listen to their demands and solve their problems. Sometimes we went with a mobile office. Although I cannot describe all of the demands raised by our Emergency Solution Team here, I would like to briefly touch upon one that has a symbolic meaning.
We gave swimming training to 6 children
In 2021, we opened three portable swimming pools in the suburbs within the scope of the principle of equal opportunity in sports. We gave swimming training to approximately 6 thousand children in the pools established in Konak Altınordu District, Gaziemir Emrez District and Bornova Meriç District. This year, we will set up twice as many pools, again in the back quarters. In other words, we will bring 6 pools together with our children.
Approximately 80 million lira in cash aid, 252 thousand food parcels
2021, when the economic crisis has deepened so much, has been a period in which our social assistance has grown like an avalanche. The amount of cash aid provided reached 79 million 150 thousand 248 liras, more than double of our target. The number of people reached by the cash aid exceeded 107 thousand. The number of our citizens to whom we delivered food packages is 252 thousand 243. However, our target for this activity was 60 thousand. These figures alone show how deep the poverty has reached in our city and how our municipality has healed this wound with its limited resources.
It is my primary duty to tremble on women's demand for equality.
There is no inequality in nature. Equality is like water, like food, like breathing… It is a right to life. The right to equality belongs to everyone. Women are also born equal. Unfortunately, many cannot live equally. Because these rights are usurped. In order to increase her own power, she is usurped by men who see all means as permissible, including violence. Therefore, women's demand for equality is legitimate. It is universal and common. As a mayor, it is my primary duty to tremble on women's demands for equality. For this, we have to give the full name of violence against women without wasting time. We must say everywhere that the horror is actually male violence, and we must prevent the oppressor from hiding among the oppressed. We took important steps towards the fight for gender equality by saying stop to male violence in 2021. We established the Gender Equality Commission in our Municipal Assembly. We established a Women's Counseling Center, Gender Equality Unit and Women's Shelter. In our Occupation Factory, we opened employment-guaranteed business lines for women to participate in economic life. While we targeted eight nurseries and fairy tale houses in total, we put 12 facilities into service in one year. At Masal Evleri, we provided trainings for non-working mothers to create jobs and services.
We established a social life center with the name “Key” in Örnekköy, which offers holistic service to women. We signed many protocols with non-governmental organizations and professional chambers to spread Gender Equality throughout the city.
We have observed gender equality as a whole in the corporate employment of our municipality. Gender equality has been our basic principle, from bus drivers to executive staff and commissions in our City Council. So much so that the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality is one of the institutions where the most women managers work in Turkey in terms of its authority and duty.
With the idea that children should have a say in the cities we live in, we are moving the Children's Municipality, which we opened in Seferihisar for the first time in Turkey, to other parts of İzmir. In addition to the Children's Municipality campus, which is under construction in Gürçeşme, we are opening the Tire Children's Municipality together with the Tire Municipality on April 23.
We gave scholarships to 5 thousand 547 students
We could not condemn our young people to despair during this difficult process that we went through the economic bottleneck. We embraced our students who had a housing problem and provided housing support to 440 students. We didn't leave them on the street. We will start the construction of the 3-bed capacity girls' dormitory in Bornova Evka 835 this year. To date, we have distributed dinner for 149 thousand 350 people to our students at Dokuz Eylül, Ege, Katip Çelebi Universities and İzmir Institute of Technology. We invested a total of 5 million 547 thousand TL in scholarships for our 17 thousand 679 students, and we stood by our youth who experienced the most severe economic crisis. We continue to provide free transportation services including vehicle and driver support to our students who will move house.
Technology, innovation and entrepreneurship studies
Young people are also at the center of our municipality's work on technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. We create opportunities for them to use their imagination and potential. Historical Havagaz Youth Campus, Mediterranean Languages Center, Entrepreneurship Center Izmir, Kule Izmir Game Entrepreneurship and Software Center, Cinema Izmir Office are just a few of the new production areas we have opened for our youth.
Since September 2020, when it started operating at the Mediterranean Languages Center, 881 people have attended the courses. In 2021, 398 people registered with the Center for Mediterranean Languages for the first time and started learning a new language.
We opened the second of our Awareness Center
In order to draw attention to the problems of the disabled, we put the second of our Awareness Center, which is the first in its field, into service at the Ornekkoy Social Projects Campus. In order to raise the awareness of the disabled in primary schools, we brought together volunteer youth and children with the “I Have Your Hand Project”. In October 2021, we opened the “Parent Education and Information Center” at the Awareness Center in Limontepe.
We are building the Flamingo Nature Park
Not so long ago, the city and nature were seen as opposites in our minds. Two great disasters we have experienced; The pandemic and the climate crisis have made man confront himself and his nature. He slapped our minds and reminded us that there is no such thing as itself on earth, and that there cannot be. That's why the fifth goal of our strategy is about nature. In this context, we started to implement two basic studies titled "İzmir Green City Action Plan" and "Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan" in 2021.
With the Climate Action Plan, we aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 percent in İzmir by 40. I must proudly state that a Green City Action Plan in line with international standards was prepared for Izmir for the first time in Turkey. Our Strategy for Living in Harmony with Nature, which is a summary of these two plans, was published in 2021.
In this context, we signed a protocol with Hacettepe University that entered into force in January 2022 and started to prepare the nature inventory of our city. This study will guide us in the transfer of world nature heritage sites such as the Gediz Delta to future generations.
We have prevented the flood risk that occurs in Mavişehir, especially in the winter months due to the rise in sea level, with the “Mavişehir Coastal Rehabilitation Project”, which we have been working on for a long time. We built a fortification wall along the Mavişehir coast and completely eliminated the flood risk that occurred in previous years. In addition, the project also has a goal of returning this area to nature. This is one of the first applications of our living parks program. Here we are building the Flamingo Nature Park, the implementation project of which was completed in 2021. With our park to be built on a project area of approximately 175 thousand 500 square meters, a transition corridor stretching from Mavişehir to Gediz Delta will be created.
Clean Gediz, Clean Bay
In July 2021, as the Mayor of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality and the President of the Aegean Municipalities Union, I went on a journey along the basin with my friends with the slogan "Clean Gediz, Clean Bay" to see the source of the pollution in the Gediz River flowing into the Izmir Bay.
During the four-day journey we traveled 1800 kilometers by drinking the sparkling water from Karapınar Waterfall, we detected the polluting points of Gediz one by one and on the spot. We shared our roadmap for a solution with the public in Foça, where the Gediz River empties into İzmir. We published a 12-item declaration on the measures to be taken and within this scope, we started to implement our action plan. Gediz Basin is a very important agricultural production basin of our country. The basin is the region where 10 percent of Turkey's agriculture takes place. Therefore, Gediz is not only for İzmir, Manisa, Uşak, Kütahya; It is very important for Istanbul and Ankara, for the whole of Turkey. But water resources are both polluted and decreasing. It is a great necessity to change the product pattern that consumes water resources in our country. Instead of water according to the product, we have to design products according to water. The situation in the Gediz Basin cannot and should not continue like this. This is exactly why I set out on the Gediz journey in July 2021 and I took the responsibility. Izmir Metropolitan Municipality will do whatever it takes to clean Gediz and prevent it from being polluted.
Izmir was declared the world's first Cittaslow Metropol pilot city
In İzmir, we also carry out rural basin planning with a very unique approach. We are designing which activities and how to allow permission in rural areas with zoning plans, within the rural basin planning process of İzmir. Our base work on this issue has also been moved to our Assembly. The subject that brings all these things together is the Cittaslow Metropol program. Izmir was declared the world's first Cittaslow Metropol pilot city in 2021. This innovative urbanism model has six main themes: “Society”, “Urban resilience”, “Food for All”, “Good Governance”, “Mobility” and “Cittaslow Neighborhoods”. With this program, we aim to implement the Cittaslow philosophy, which was established in Italy and spread to 30 countries, in metropolises.
learning by living
We think that human resources are very important in order to realize all of our universal goals. Our strategic goal of “learning by living” builds the imagination of an Izmir that sees the entire city as an educational space and learning campus. Because in order to live, we have to increase the pure power that comes from human nature. We can only achieve this if we can design every area we live in as a learning space. In 2021, our mobile libraries served in almost all our districts. In coordination with the headman's office and schools in the districts, we provided librarianship services to our citizens who do not have access to books. We expect our Mobile Libraries to serve 2022 neighborhoods in 288.
5 thousand 110 hours of art education
In 2021, we focused on art education and provided 5 hours of training with the coordination of our Culture and Art Department. Aşık Veysel Park, Can Yücel Seed Center and Sasalı İzmir Agricultural Development Center are our two important “learning by living” units that we put into service in 110.
In order to create a climate that encourages cultural and artistic production, we purchased and distributed a total of 2021 books and 4 course support books to primary and secondary schools in 690. We donated 2 thousand books to schools, prisons, citizens and to mukhtars who want to establish libraries throughout Turkey.
We reopened Bıçakçı Han to use
Our seventh strategic goal is Culture and Art. We did not allow Yıldız Cinema and Bıçakçı Han, where the most beautiful films met with the people of Izmir for a period, and where great memories were collected, to be abandoned to their fate. One of these two outstanding buildings, which we bought for 26 million liras, Bıçakçı Han has been reopened for use within the framework of its historical value.
We opened Izmir City Theaters
We have realized the 27-year-old dream of İzmir by marking the World Theater Day on March 2021, 70. We opened Izmir City Theatres. The curtain of Izmir City Theatres, which will shed light on the culture and art production of our city, will never be closed.
We are working to increase the number of UNESCO sites from two to six
In İzmir, which has accumulated a deep-rooted heritage throughout its 8500-year history, there are many cultural and natural heritages of outstanding universal value that will be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. In order to protect these values, we act in partnership with all stakeholders in İzmir with great dedication and vision. We are working to increase the number of UNESCO sites from two to six.
Together with our stakeholders, we ensured that Kemeraltı was included in the tentative list. Last year, we opened our UNESCO Coordination office with the coordination of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Izmir Metropolitan Municipality and TARKEM, for Kemeraltı to be included in the permanent list. Our office will have completed the necessary dossier for the permanent list of world heritage in the second half of this year.
In addition to Ephesus and Bergama with our World's İzmir Heritage project, from Yeşilova Mound in Historical İzmir to Konak Clock Tower, from Aydınoğlu Mehmet Bey Mosque in Birgi to Ümmü Sultan Shah Tomb, in Gediz Delta where flamingos live İzmir's outstanding universal values, stretching from the coastal promenades to Foça and Çandarlı Castle, will gain the assurance of UNESCO World Heritage.
We hosted the World Association of Municipalities Culture Summit in September 2021. At this summit, we expressed that we need a new cultural foundation at the great turning point when humanity faces the pandemic and climate crisis, and we defined a new concept called "Circular Culture". Circular culture rises on four main pillars. Harmony with our nature. Harmony with each other. Harmony with the past. And finally, harmony with change. The word “harmony” forms the backbone of the cyclical culture concept that we put forward in İzmir and which is already widely favored by the world's municipalities.
Courage and harmony…
At the very beginning of my speech, I said that the most important thing we need to change the world for the better is “courage”. Courage and harmony… These two seemingly contradictory words are a brief summary of the stance we have taken in Izmir for three years. Because it takes courage to defend harmony over personal interests. It is an act of courage to advocate harmony with nature and one another, rather than taking refuge in everyday, narrow, stereotypical dogmas. Saying goodbye to each other and defending the common mind is unfortunately a matter of courage in our country. Saying that we will adapt with change actually means “we did not come here to swim in safe waters”. It is to put a stick in the wheel of the order. Talking about harmony with the past is an act of courage in this country. Using conscience and politics side by side in the same sentence requires being brave. It is the mirror of courage to defend fraternity and peace instead of striving, dividing and dividing. Courage and harmony… We will need these two values even more in İzmir and our country in the coming years.
We know that we cannot complete any of the activities we aim for, neither the subways, nor the roads, nor the others, without having these two. Without courage and harmony, we cannot ensure the growth of prosperity and fair distribution in this city. You will see, 2022 will be a year when we increase courage and harmony even more. In this way, we will fulfill all and more of the promises we made to the people of Izmir in the best way possible.
“Izmir Metropolitan Municipality is not in debt trap”
I am sharing a very clear picture with numbers. Our debt, which was 5 billion liras when we took office, is 13,4 billion liras today. To date, we have made 5,4 billion lira of domestic and foreign borrowing. During this period, we paid 5 billion liras of domestic and foreign debt. Our total debt amount increased by 400 million TL during our tenure. Our foreign debt, which was 790 million euros when we took office, is 822 million euros today. There has been an increase in our foreign debt of 3 million Euros in 32 years. Izmir Metropolitan Municipality is not in debt trap. The Izmir Metropolitan Municipality has a very strong financial capacity, and despite all these crises and difficulties, it still fills its borrowing capacity below 50 percent. He has that much more. Despite this picture, the euro rate when we took office was 6,24, 30 as of March 16,33. It increased by 161 percent. That is, it increased 2,6 times. These are numbers that become clear when added one after the other. We made a foreign loan of 192 million euros for the Narlıdere metro. We borrowed a total of 5,4 billion liras, and we paid a debt of 5 billion liras. We had a foreign debt of 790 million euros, now we have a foreign debt of 822 million euros. Our borrowing has increased in terms of TL 400 million and on the basis of € 32 million.
“We never make excuses”
While the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality was doing all these, it gave 14 million liras of excavation support last year for 8 archaeological excavation points for archaeological excavations. Our Ministry has allocated 1,8 million liras. Other organizations have allocated 2,6 million liras. In 2022, we will increase this number to 10 million. A meeting is held every 3 months, organized by the governor's office, where investments in İzmir are evaluated. When the data is examined in 2021, İzmir Metropolitan Municipality has invested close to 2 billion. When the first three months of 3 data are examined, a total of 2022 million TL has been invested in İzmir. 635 million lira of this amount was made by the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality. Özgür Hızal said something important as he finished his speech. He said “There is a difference between you and us”. He talked about Ak Belediyeism, the photos he showed are the investments made by the government. Honestly, I don't quite understand who you are. In the party sense, I am not his interlocutor, you can meet with the relevant party. As Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, I have to say that we never act as an excuse municipality. Why doesn't the ratio of 500 to one change. If İzmir receives 40 billion investment while giving 95 billion, why is this? I have to account for this. A mayor sitting in my chair should ask why Izmir's share of tax revenues in Turkey is so low, and that's what I'm asking. I'm asking about the Electric Factory, why shouldn't I ask? This is the right of Izmir, why is it not given to Izmir? Despite everything, we did not make excuses as municipality, we do not do it, and we will not do it in the future. Despite these conditions, our job is to try to do whatever will move this city forward, whatever will make the people living in this city smile. There are a thousand reasons for doing something and not doing something. Our reason is love. We love İzmir with love, we will continue to work for İzmir with love.