Istanbul Mayor: State Banks Withholding Loans to City since Election
Ekrem Imamoglu, an opposition candidate elected this past summer as mayor of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, has accused state banks of refusing to extend badly needed loans. Imamoglu, who defeated the candidate of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK party, said the city was in need of some $3.5 billion for everything from wages to stagnating public transportation projects. “State banks are not extending even routine loans after the elections…. The doors of state banks are closed to us,” he told reporters after heading to such cities as Berlin and Paris this month in search of funding. During his travels, was able to obtain close to 200 million euros in loans from Deutsche Bank and the French Development Agency. Mansur Yavas, a fellow member of Imamoglu’s CHP party who defeated the AK party candidate to lead City Hall in Ankara, issued a similar complaint last week, saying the capital city was suffering from a “serious financial burden” after national authorities reneged on promises to back the city on public transportation.