Turkish Interior Ministry has appointed an inspector to investigate if controversial Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu has violated laws by using the municipal budget to fight against the government’s Canal Istanbul project. Turkey’s constitution and interior ministry mandates forbid municipalities from involving in matters that fall within the scope of the state authority.
Anti-refuge Iyi Party leader Meral Aksener has revealed on Monday that Istanbul mayor Imamoglu was being investigated by the Interior Ministry for opposing Canal Istanbul project. Aksener also took her claims a step forward and said Imamoglu was being accused of separatism. Interior Ministry has come out after Aksener’s vehement allegations to clear the matter and released a statement. According to Turkish Interior Ministry statement, Istanbul mayor Imamoglu was being investigated for using municipal budget to fight Canal Istanbul project which is illegal under Turkey’s unitary state constitution. “ Canal Istanbul has a international legal aspect and municipalities shall not object by using public budgets to a matter that is within the scope of sovereign state authority, ” the statement said. Interior Ministry also said mayor Imamoglu is in no way being accused of separatism. Turkish Environment and Urban Planning minister Murat Kurum said on a national TV on Tuesday morning that no one would criticize Imamoglu for personally being against Canal Istanbul project.
According to the statement, Interior Ministry has asked Imamoglu on November 9th to submit a written defense about the matter.
Turkey’s unitary state constitution forbids municipalities to challenge state matters. Mayors and municipal assemblies are elected officials but boundaries of their authorities are explained with clear limits in the Turkish constitution.