Istanbul: who's to blame for the snow chaos?
As in Greece, heavy snowstorms have brought public life in Turkey to a standstill. On Monday more than 5,000 people were left stuck in traffic jams in Istanbul and had to be rescued. The new airport and the Ankara-Istanbul motorway were closed for several hours. Turkish commentators take different views of the extent to which Istanbul's mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu is to blame.
İmamoğlu unable to cope in the crisis
Although the snow had been forecast for days, Istanbul's mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu took very few precautions, the pro-government daily Sabah grumbles:
“Istanbul has more resources, equipment and staff than any other municipality in Turkey. İmamoğlu could have presented his crisis plan and focused this arsenal on zones that were at risk. ... But he was incapable of even that. That night he put the 16 million Istanbul residents under his care in a dreadful situation, leaving us stranded and abandoned at our workplaces and on the streets. ... If the mayor can't even run this big city when it's shut down, why is he still in office?”
Targeted by a smear campaign
Although the central government is responsible for avoiding such situations, only Mayor İmamoğlu - who opposes the ruling AKP - is being blamed for the disaster, the Yetkin Report blog comments with annoyance:
“İmamoğlu is of course not responsible for the poor construction and management of Istanbul airport or for the fact that the Ankara-Istanbul motorway was not cleared, although it has weathered worse snowstorms. ... But the AKP propaganda team seems to have rolled up its sleeves to blame İmamoğlu for all the problems with the snow. ... The AKP wants people to talk about İmamoğlu, not the economic crisis.”