Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday blasted the opposition mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu, over what he called a lengthy vacation amid last week’s flash floods that wreaked havoc on the megacity.
“Istanbul was devastated by flooding and this gentleman is on vacation… I never vacationed like that when I was a mayor or during my presidency,” left-wing news site Artı Gerçek quoted Erdoğan as saying in the northeastern province of Rize. The Turkish president recalled that İmamoğlu was just recently elected to office in June.
Turkey’s financial hub was hit by unprecedented flash floods last weekend, filling a number of the city’s underpasses with floodwaters and damaging businesses, including those in the city’s historic Grand Bazaar.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate İmamoğlu has come under criticism for being on vacation at the time of the flooding; the Istanbul mayor cut his holiday short to return to the megacity, where Erdoğan launched his political career as mayor between 1994-1998, before resuming his holiday with his children.
The Turkish president also spoke on the dismissal earlier this week of three Kurdish mayors in Turkey’s southeast, saying, “Whoever gives credence to terror will find us before them. Everyone who uses municipalities outside of [their] services is destined for the same fate,’’
Ankara accuses the mayors of Van, Diyabakir and Mardin of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war for autonomy in Turkey for over 30 years.