Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) President Ekrem İmamoğluinformed the public about the rain that was effective on the night of the first day of the holiday in the city and the political process that followed.
Imamoglu's evaluations on the areas affected by the flood, the work of the IMM and the criticisms made were as follows:
“The reason why I am with you today is what happened after a very effective rain in Istanbul, especially in two of our districts, in a neighborhood or even a street of our Esenyurt district. I observed for a few days. I've listened to the comments. I read what was written. Maybe I've read it a few times and I'm here today. Before we get into any focus shifts, it would be useful to name the business together first. First, let's talk openly about the plain reality, not the perceptions created. On that day, there was no disaster-like situation in Istanbul. There were floods in several counties. Only in Esenyurt's Pınar Mahallesi, there was a problem on a limited line, even on a street. Moreover, there have been many problems in the same place in the past years. Finally, after the problem experienced in 2020, we decided to invest in order to create a permanent solution to this region. The process continues. We are talking about an investment that exceeds 800 million liras. The rain intensified after midnight. I followed the developments moment by moment by getting information from our teams. And as of 03.30 at night, we made conference calls and managed the developments together with our teams.
Let's underline something and talk about this determination together. Unfortunately, in recent years, we have been experiencing that things have deviated from the normal in many areas in Turkey. Due to the practices of the current power, a degenerate phenomenon has emerged. What is this phenomenon? The understanding of 'one man' in all areas. And this one-man understanding is wanted to be made widespread. It is a very dangerous situation to exalt one-manhood so much and to try to spread it in every field. In a period of almost 100 years, in which the word 'sovereignty belongs to the nation unconditionally' has been entrusted, this does not suit our nation. It is very dangerous. And we actually live.
In every problem, if the person in charge of the field is not in charge, nothing is done. There is such a situation. It is as if the efforts of thousands of people working to solve the problem have no value. Such a process. İBB is not an institution that has been managed with the head of one man for 3 years. First of all, those who make it a habit to rule this country with the head of one man should understand this fact. As long as I remain as President, there will never be one-manity in IMM. Until the morning that night, 3 thousand 200 employees of IMM, everyone from our vice president to our Secretary General, from our 3 Deputy Secretary Generals to our İSKİ General Manager and the managers of our other institutions and organizations were on the field. We managed the whole process until the morning light with this giant staff. We are focused on problem solving, not showmanship. And indeed we solved the problem.
Here I would like to repeat emphatically: In IMM, the 'hero' is not a person. It will never happen. In IMM, the hero is a big team. It has political partners. It has bureaucratic stakeholders. It has executive stakeholders. More importantly, the hero in IMM is the common mind. Hero; joint effort and strong solidarity. The heroes of IMM are all my devoted and hardworking companions. Of course, it is a wide and great companionship that cannot fit in this hall, even in the square of the Metropolitan Municipality that you see in front of us.
I don't wear boots to show off, I wear them while doing infrastructure work.
I truly congratulate each of my colleagues, the people of Istanbul and myself, who worked before you during that night, and thank them wholeheartedly. I would like to emphasize once again that we are and will always stand by all our citizens who have suffered minor or major damage. In this process, I did not receive many sincere calls saying 'Wear your boots, give a photo in the field'. I sincerely thank you for all the well-intentioned advice. I don't draw after the disaster, not for show; I wear it while doing infrastructure work so that our citizens will not be harmed in case of disaster. I wear my boots in the field not to give photos to the media after a problem happens, but to solve infrastructure problems that have not been solved for 25 years, so that there is no problem. I sincerely believe that the most beautiful photo and permanent service photo is that photo.
The damage that occurred in Pınar Neighborhood did not happen because I was out of the province with my family. There are serious omissions in it. Because in Esenyurt, I did not change the creek bed from where it is and move it to another place. Because I did not narrow the creek bed in Esenyurt. Look, I've been living in that area for 33 years. I did not open Esenyurt to wild construction. Without infrastructure, I did not erect dozens of concrete skyscrapers there. The Esenyurt Municipality of the past, the IMM administration and government of that period, the mentality that created the ugliest city in the world, did all this. Exactly the same mentality has unfortunately brought bad constructions not only in Esenyurt, but also in many valleys and stream beds of Istanbul for the sake of profit. Look at the past, you can see the loss of life in these creek beds and environments, one by one, what the people of Istanbul have paid.
So what did we do? What do we continue to do? We work with great devotion to reduce the chaos created by these rentiers; despite all the obstacles. For example, in Pınar Neighborhood, we are investing more than 5,5 million liras due to the mistakes they made in the 800-kilometer stream bed in this process. These shortcomings we have seen in Istanbul in 3 years, it is wrong to say even 3 years, only İSKİ invested 2 billion liras in 2,5-10,2 years to prevent these raids and we continue to do so. We are this administration. If the rain that fell that day had rained on Istanbul 3 years ago, we would still be searching for our people who were lost in the flood, even after a week has passed. Do not forget this. On that day, we would see the sea and the land meet once again, just as it has been for 25 years. You know better than me which district it is. In the 21st century, we used to see the blood of sacrifices flowing in the Bosphorus, with the streams flowing into the Bosphorus, and the Bosphorus was red. But here we are, we are a huge team, a huge family, walking on the path of reason, technique and science that has completely eliminated all these images in order to prevent them from happening.
I ask you media representatives. Do some archive scanning and see how many people died in the floods and how many people this city lost. You remember when I said Ayamama Valley, you can take out the others one by one. Of course, ingenuity is subject to compliment. In just 3 years, we have solved the infrastructure problem all over our huge city in this sense, and we have done business at hundreds of points. And we continue to do so despite all obstacles. Let me underline; I would like to remind İSKİ about the persecution inflicted on our distinguished institution by emphasizing it here. Believe me, it is not difficult to see all the works done in this process. You can easily see and detect. We are a team that has solved the nasty flooding problem of Istanbul to a great extent and is proud to complete the remaining small part after a while.
But unfortunately, in this degenerated process, neither these works are discussed in this order, nor the 20-25 years of ignorance of the real owners of the troubles are discussed. I don't watch most of your television channels, except for a few. Because, unfortunately, in this degenerated order, the conversations befitting our people are not made in most of those channels. There is no mistake in simile: there is a murder. The suspect is walking around the crime scene waving his hand. He also poses as a savior. Everyone knows he is guilty. But for some reason, the person trying to resuscitate the victim is accused and lynched. This is exactly the process and order that the press wants to create. How is that conscience? I'm asking you. I sincerely believe that our citizens will carefully analyze this and have the power to analyze it.
Since the day we started work, we have focused on solving the gangrenous problems of this city. By identifying each problem with a common mind, taking science as a guide and putting an end to waste, we allocated the money that was spent to a certain group of people, a handful of people, to do business, and focused on our work, our strength, and on serving you. 10,2 billion and 10 metro line investments in İSKİ alone in the last three years. Around 10 billion roads, bridges, intersections… Many of these are investments that also solve infrastructure problems. A process that has touched untouched sections in the history of the municipality until this time… We have provided and continue to provide great support to students, farmers and mothers. Very soon, new dormitories and a dormitory for university students for the first time with a bed capacity of 5000. And we will continue to open new city restaurants one by one to serve this city in these difficult days.
In the coming weeks, we will present dozens of projects we have carried out, one after the other, to your service. From the past to the present, except what we will do from now on. I'm announcing it today. We will introduce you to '150 projects in 150 days'. Again, we will lay the foundation of many new projects, every detail of which has been designed by considering public needs. We support our citizens, who are oppressed in the face of painful and economic problems caused by those who implement irrational and populist policies, to get through those difficult days, and we will continue to do so. There is also a populist mindset there. There, too, our country is living in deeper poverty as a result of an administration far from reason and science. What are we doing? Just last week, we will deliver meat to nearly 200 thousand families with the sacrifice donations of our citizens. Thanks to pending invoices, we have paid more than 360 thousand invoices to date. This year, we will provide scholarship support of 75 TL to our 4 thousand students. Moreover, our support is unconditional. In other words, we will not turn to our children later and say, 'Pay it back with interest'. Let them spend it. And we say; 'You are our bright young people who deserve this money anyway.' I wish we had the opportunity, we could give more, we could be with more of our citizens.
I would like to share one last piece of information. It has been three years since I won the Istanbul elections. The number of days off in three years is exactly 25 days. So only one week per year. I am a father who spends a week with his family every year. Families also have the right to spend time together, share and be happy. In this regard, perhaps our children need it the most. I know; Istanbul coincided with the rain on both of my vacations. But all of Istanbul knows very well my hard work and good intentions. Moreover; I also state that I will never be a father who does not spare time for his home, wife, children and family. Besides, my family members and my children have never been in politics, so I can't spare time for them in politics. I can only spare time for them in a week during the year that we allocate to each other at home and at work. It is against our family principles and family discipline for them to spend time in political environments and be together with me. I would like to highlight this too. I want this to be known.”
After his evaluations, İmamoğlu answered journalists' questions about the agenda.