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Istanbul on brink of bankruptcy

Turkish President Erdogan has repeatedly said, “If we lose Istanbul, we lose Turkey,” but he indeed may have lost it electorally and in terms of financial accountability.

When the Istanbul mayoral candidate for an election alliance led by Justice and Development Party (AKP), Binali Yildirim, said March 26, “We have to collect more taxes in Istanbul,” the statement hit a nerve with the public. Efforts were promptly made to remove the statement from the internet so as not to damage his candidacy in the March 31 municipal elections.

But Yildirim was right; the municipality is on the brink of bankruptcy. It is crucial to see the extent of the financial difficulties the city faces to understand why Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AKP are so reluctant to accept the results of the elections in Istanbul, where Yildirim has been trailing by a margin of some 15,000 votes.

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