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Istanbul mayor looks overseas as state banks deny him funds

Ekrem Imamoglu, Istanbul’s new opposition mayor, says government-controlled banks are refusing to finance the city’s stalled infrastructure projects after the ruling party lost control of Turkey’s largest city.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu speaks after being awarded with the German-Turkish Friendship Award 'Kybele 2019' in Berlin, Germany, November 8, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch - RC267D9SXAMU

Istanbul has been forced to turn to foreign banks to find money for frozen infrastructure projects because Turkey’s state lenders have refused financing for the municipality since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party lost control of the country’s biggest city, its new mayor said.

The city of 16 million people needs more 20 billion lira ($3.48 billion) to finish metro rail projects and other investments, but publicly owned banks have ceased extending even short-term credit to Istanbul and other municipalities controlled by the opposition Republican People’s Party, Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu told a news conference on Sunday.

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