World Mayor 2020

Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavas
Mansur Yavas
Mayor of Ankara, Turkey
answers your questions

World Mayor invited participants in the 2021 Project to put questions to Mansur Yavas. From the questions received, a representative selection was forwarded to the Mayor. He replies with candour, thoughtfulness and in great detail. (In the interview references are made to Turkish Lira (TL). TL 100 = € 9.85 = US$ 11.6)


Mansur Yavas, Mayor of Ankara, Turkey, since 2019


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THE INTERVIEW

Question by Evrim O., Turkey:
What made you enter politics and decide to become first Mayor of Beypazari and in 2019 Mayor of Ankara?

Mayor Yavas replies:
While I was working as a lawyer in Beypazarı, I was also engaging in political activities. Over time, when the activities I carried out at that time attracted interest, I was nominated for the Mayor of Beypazarı. With the services we have provided for two terms (10 years), we have turned a small Anatolian town that has never visited by tourist into a touristic center visited by 500 thousand local and international people every year. By this way, thousands of people, mostly women, were employed through local activities. Our work has been taken as an example by more than 1000 municipalities. We achieved this by revealing the unique culture that belongs to Beypazarı and Ankara.

 I personally believe that a politician should remain in office for a maximum of two terms. At the beginning of my second term, I announced on the first day that I would not be a candidate again. However, our success in Beypazarı attracted such attention that I found myself as the mayoral candidate for Ankara. Ankara was governed by an understanding that used a polarizing, discriminating and marginalizing language for years. However, we thought that this is the city for all of us and we should all have a say. The story about our future in Ataturk’s city, the Capital of the Republic, should have been written in a different way. We have achieved this and now we are providing equal service to each of our citizens, without discriminating anyone.


Question by Meral B., Ankara:
What are your priorities for Ankara? Have they changed since the Covid pandemic?

Mayor Yavas replies:
Our priority for Ankara was to establish a transparent, participatory and accountable management structure. We have largely achieved this. Can you imagine that a municipality broadcasts live more than 1600 of its bid openings performed so far? This is a revolution. Of course, as a result of these practices, we were deemed worthy of many national and international awards. After achieving this, we planned studies that will highlight many aspects of our city's transportation, surroundings, historical places, culture, sports and education.

 We had to postpone some of these due to the pandemic, because even today we cannot predict the consequences of this outbreak. For this reason, we have carried out many activities that show we are with our citizens economically and psychologically during this difficult period. On the other hand, we started other projects without forgetting our main goals. When I leave the office, I want to leave behind a greener and most importantly a happy city, where everyone is treated equally and people can easily access to basic needs such as water and quality food with less transportation problems.



SOCIETY

Question by Mete D. K., Ankara:
Ankara has been the base of enlightenment since the proclamation of the republic. As mayor, do you still believe the city serving the same purpose today? Do you have plans to help the city fulfil its mission of enlightenment?

Mayor Yavas replies:
In the founding period of our Republic, very different people gathered around a single table and even though they belonged to different sociologies, they provided great services for a single purpose. That goal has been the salvation of our country and more importantly, the planning of its future vision. This is the city of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Although the understanding of "My decision, I want it" along with the language of discrimination has been effective for a while, the public said "stop" to this. We may have our differences, but this city belongs to all of us. Now Ankara has regained that unity in its history and now there is peace in the city. When someone calls the Municipality, they are not being asked which party they are a member of. Also the policy of “those who vote more, get served first” is not valid anymore. Equal and fair service is provided to all.

Most importantly, we attach great importance to young people and students. Ankara is one of the cheapest cities in Turkey for student transportation. The decision of 50% water discount for student houses was first taken in this city. Especially during the pandemic period, when distance education was most important, we provided free internet connection to 918 villages. We supplied 10 GB of internet support every month during the school season for the 30 thousand children of our families receiving social assistance. Express lines and free ring shuttles were provided to our universities.

We believe that Municipal works are not only consist of big projects mixed with concrete and asphalt, but also includes services that touch the lives of people, think and care about them and always walk side by side with them. Finally, we organized a big book campaign for our schools that are not in good financial condition. We will determine the bright future of this city together with our youth.


Question by Mehmet U. M., Ankara:
I am a resident of Ankara with a disability. I'd like to learn about the Mayor’s plans and projects for a barrier-free Ankara.

Question by Habibe I., Istanbul:
Do you have plans on the accessibility of the city for the children with disabilities?

Mayor Yavas replies to Mehmet and Habibe:
We are developing projects that will overcome the obstacles of our disabled citizens. With the "tactile paving machine" designed and produced by our municipality, we are now modifying the pavements by ourselves. This gave us great speed.

We designed the Başkent Mobile application to be used by our disabled citizens. Thus, our visually impaired citizens can send us their requests instantly in the digital environment.

For the first time in Turkey, we are opening a day care center for the disabled at international standards. The day care center, which will be built on an area of ​​5600 m2, will include agricultural fields, amphitheater and playgrounds. We will have put this project into operation in 2021.

We established a Wheelchair and Maintenance Repair Workshop. We carry out maintenance for the wheelchairs of our disabled citizens with free of charge. Every year, we continue to provide wheelchair support to thousands of our disabled citizens.

We pay extra attention to the construction of tactile paving and disabled exits on all our new designed pedestrian roads. We also set up a special signal system for our disabled citizens at the traffic lights on busy streets.

With increasing numbers every year, we allocate simit (Turkish bagel) carts to disabled sellers through fair and transparent lottery processes in order to employ them.

We established the Disabled Council within the City Council. We often get together here and listen to their problems and solution suggestions. In these days when we pass from the pandemic period to the normalization period, we receive the demands of our disabled citizens and work to turn our city into a barrier-free living space.


Question by Isik B., Ankara:
I would like to know your plans for elderly people to enjoy the outdoors of Ankara. Green spaces with benches and easier bus travel would be a start.

Mayor Yavas replies:
The happiness of a city means the happiness of its inhabitants. We all dream of a city full of citizens who smile when they see each other, are happy to spend time in the city and are environmentally sensitive. Especially with the relief of the pandemic period, we are currently working on parks and recreation areas to increase the number of green spaces in every corner of Ankara. However, we are aware that this cannot be achieved by simply increasing the number of fields.

At the same time, we encourage our citizens to do physical exercise every morning in our 20 parks accompanied by professional trainers. We organize free city tours to the historical districts of Ankara. Approximately 2 thousand people have benefited from these trips in 15 days; we will increase the number even more.

As a free service we enable our musicians, who are having financial problems during the pandemic period, to give concerts in our parks and help them be together with the citizens of the Capital City.

We will establish one of the most outstanding Alzheimer's centers in Turkey, the project of which we have completed in this period. In addition, we will expand the scope of our elderly accompaniment service and start it very soon.

Our buses are already free for our citizens over the age of 65, with the decision taken by the government, but no new buses have been purchased to Ankara since 2013. We also made the tender for this and our new buses will start to be delivered to us this year. More importantly, our Municipality's company produced the first bus converted from diesel to electric in Turkey.

Now we will start mass production and we will bring environmentally friendly, renewed and economical buses to Ankara. In this regard, we have started working with the EBRD on detailed climate change issues within the scope of the Green Cities Action Plan. We will also consider the climate factor in projects that will facilitate the lives of our elderly citizens.


Question by Süleyman K., Ankara:
Can Ankara do anything to provide low-cost food, travel and health care for poor people?

Mayor Yavas replies:
We have initiated Turkey's largest social responsibility project in this regard. Previously, aid was given in the form of food packages. Hundreds of millions of liras worth of goods bought from a person were delivered to the citizens by adding the distribution cost. Moreover, this was done in front of everyone and disadvantaged groups were offended. We have now established the “Baskent Card” system. Başkent Card is not only given to those who receive social assistance, it can be used by everyone. Its design is the same for everyone, valid all over the world with its MasterCard infrastructure. As our citizens spend on this card, the operating commission that used to go to the banks is now 95% transferred to the social assistance recipients. In other words, as you shop, you also support our citizens in need. Via the balances loaded on their cards, social assistance recipients can reach the products they need and prefer in a civilized manner. In short, they are no longer subject to pre-selected, packaged products that an institution obliges them. They can also buy chocolate, clothes and books for their children.

On the other hand, the aid economy is spreading all over Ankara and all tradesmen, big and small businesses, are included in the system. In short, local tradesmen also gain from these purchases. Our citizens, who receive social assistance from contracted stores, can access products by paying less. With this card, we had a citizen who had the refrigerator repaired, as well as a citizen who bought his prosthesis equipment.

Frankly, we have established a great “city system” and we can follow the results instantly. Although our card became operational 2 months ago, it has already made a huge impact across Turkey. But our goal is to promote this card worldwide and further develop this system.


Question by Tomris B. B., Turkey:
How are you planning to cater for homeless people in Ankara?

Mayor Yavas replies:
This is a very rooted and long-term process. However, when we took office, we promised that we would not leave anyone hungry or exposed in Ankara. In this regard, we are increasing the number of our “compassion houses” (that is, the shelters we provide for the homeless people) while making them more comfortable than before. By making frequent announcements, we inform our citizens to contact us about people living and/or staying on the street.

In a district called Eserkent, we renovated 400 houses that have been idle for 18 years and where judicial cases have been experienced in the region. We have allocated low-cost houses to newly married couples and the elderly for 100 TL (9.78 €) per month, almost free. On the other hand in Mamak, we have urban regeneration victims who have experienced problems from previous years. They have been waiting for their houses to be built for 10 years. At the end of this month, we will make the tender for approximately 2500 residential units and we will immediately start working to bring them to their new homes.

Our biggest project is that no one goes to bed hungry and exposed, especially because of the pandemic conditions. We are sure that we have succeeded this as well, because with our “6 Million One Heart” campaign, we, as the local government, established a solidarity network between us and our citizens. We reminded again the importance of sharing. While we remind ourselves that we are stronger together and we manage to reach those who need help faster.


Question by Elif K., Turkey:
The current government in Turkey targets the LGBTQ+ community referring them as “perverts”. What is your stance towards LGBTQ+ community as a mayor?

Question by Izver S., Ankara:
I care and wonder about your opinion on gender equality. Brilliant young people in Ankara cannot work in municipal institutions just because they are transsexual. Many of them have to do sex work because they cannot earn money because government institutions do not accept them as they are. I would like to see a transgender person in public institutions, for example, at the cashier of an affiliate of Ankara Metropolitan Municipality. Do you have any work related to this topic? If so, what are they?

Mayor Yavas replies to Elif and Izver:
While we are governing this city, we are not the authorities to interrogate the language, religion, color, race, party, sect or point of view of the people living in our city. When a Mayor is elected, he comes to office with an election in which all the inhabitants of his city participate. After being elected, he should serve equally to all people living in his city. As stated in the European Court on Human Rights, “All human beings are equal before the law and have equal rights under the protection of the law.” This is how we view our citizens. Approximately 6 million citizens live in Ankara. We can neither discriminate nor privilege. We strive to provide equal service to all 6 million people without distinguishing any of them from each other.

Our priority is merit and transparency. When there is such a job opportunity and the application conditions are met, it is employed without considering any preference.


Question by Balkas T. E., Ankara:
What plans do you have to improve the conditions of the farmers living in Ankara province?

Mayor Yavas replies:
Before the elections, during in all our outdoor meetings and television interviews, I said, "My biggest project is to make the producers from Ankara rich". As soon as we took office, we started working on this issue. One of the biggest areas of a city's economic prosperity is rural development. Today, there are 40 thousand farmers engaged in herbal production in Ankara and we, as the Municipality, support approximately 50 percent of them.

We established and implemented the “Contractual Production” model. We give grant seeds to our farmers and provide purchase guarantee after producing. We distribute the products which they growth to our families who are receiving social aid. Apart from this, we undertake activities that will support both education and ecology, such as beekeeping and fishing in lakes. We are getting ready to provide electricity and fuel support to our farmers soon.

Our work on the “Ankara Development Area Project” continues without a break. Within the scope of the 2700-decares, the greenhouse project has been completed and its tender will be made soon. 2.000 m² and 1.000 m² warehouse constructions have been started. The constructions of the workshop and cafeteria buildings have begun. The preparations for the projects of the administrative building, education buildings, laboratory buildings and reception centers are continuing. Vegetables, dry beans, chickpeas and potatoes were produced on an area of 2700 decares. Their products were distributed to families in need. For the irrigation infrastructure, 30 ball valves, 15 manhole covers and a closed irrigation system of 2,000 meters were built. In 2020, 1000 tons of potatoes, 600 tons of tomatoes, 80 tons of pepper, 25 tons of cucumber, 45 tons of beans were produced and distributed to families in need.

Within the scope of the project, we will establish a local product market and an agricultural training center. The peasant market, where local products can be sold, will serve on Saturday and Sunday and a children's agriculture education center will be established in area.

With this model, we have opened the way for rural development again. By encouraging producing, guiding and minimizing financial impossibilities, we support both Ankara and the producers from Ankara.



ECONOMY

Question by Bertug B., Istanbul:
I really admire all the social and economic help provided for the parts of the community that are less advantaged in Ankara, however financial aids of this kind are only temporary. Does the Yavaş administration have any concrete steps planned to make Ankara a hub for job opportunities for the long run, and also are they making any efforts to make the Turkish capital an advantageous place for foreign investment - which in return would most likely result in an increase in the employment of locals and foreign direct investment (FDI) in general? 

Question by Buse D., Turkey:
Are there any disadvantages of Istanbul becoming the center of finance instead of Ankara? For example, the central bank of Turkey has moved to Istanbul. If yes, does Ankara have any plans to develop its finance sector?

Question by Klaus L. K., Istanbul:
Will you consider this modern concept of public private partnership (PPPs) for Ankara?

Question by Fusun A., Ankara:
Where do you save the money to get the necessary funding for the extra services you have provided?

Mayor Yavas replies to Bertug, Buse, Klaus and Fusun:
Our most important initiative in this regard was Başkent Markets. By opening Başkent Markets, we started to bring local products produced by local unions, women's cooperatives and producer unions directly to our citizens at affordable prices. In 2 years, we transferred approximately 42 million TL (€4.1 million) of resources to 14 cooperatives and 3 unions. Currently, 871 people are employed in these cooperatives and unions. The number of cooperatives opened in various regions of Ankara and especially in its outer districts is increasing day by day. We are currently serving as 6 branches and 2 buffets. We will open our new branches soon. Here we mainly sell local products and do not interfere with the work of our small retailers. We contribute to production and employment both in villages and in outer districts. On the other hand, we provide employment in our own markets.

Apart from this, we started to sell souvenirs and products produced by housewives in the showroom we opened in Mamak Mall. This is how we provide income support to them.

We are in constant contact with our industrial zones. Most recently, we completed the infrastructure works in the area of 25 thousand residences in Alcı Neighbourhood, which is close to two organized industrial zones in Temelli and has been idle for 17 years. Life will begin in the area where we used to call the ghost town. Asphalt work is currently underway. If there is a demand, we will also build a school, nursery and library. Thus, we will make a great contribution to the industry and production in that region, which is very far from the city centre.

For young entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts, we are also building business incubators, digital environments and Silicon Valley structures where angel investors can make visits.

We are continuing our negotiations and infrastructure works for the Ankara Fair and Exhibition Center. We aim to organize national and international fairs.

In short, we continue to work from all branches to raise Ankara with its rural development, industry, production and tourism.

While doing all these, our most important financial resource is ourselves. We use our financial structure away from waste. When you broadcast the auctions in a transparent and live broadcast, there are big discounts and competition. Instead of idle investments, we act in line with the needs of the citizens. In this way, on the one hand, we pay the debts from the old period and on the other hand, we can continue our investments. For example, we saved 60 million TL (€ 5.9 million) in two years with the arrangement we made only on rental cars. By keeping the financial discipline and spending the resources of the people only for the people, the cost of the investments to be made is automatically found. We carry out budget planning with accurate and effective studies, conduct needs analyses and audit.

We have already become a municipality that received the 'AAA' score, which is the highest rating in Turkey in the long-term credit rating, in the evaluation of the International Evaluation Agency Fitch. The declaration by Fitch of the highest creditworthiness is a very valuable issue that proves our financial discipline.



ENVIRONMENT

Question by Tugba O. O., Ankara:
There are many environmental problems all around the world. How are planning to improve environmental management of this city? Do you have any projects about drought, encouraging recycling, afforestation?

Question by Muhtesem M., Turkey:
What is your stance about the permissions given for the destruction of our forests and natural environments?

Question by Sila C., Ankara:
In the past 20 years, thousand of rooted trees, especially on the land of Atatürk Forest Farm and Middle East Technical University, were cut down for road and building construction by the previous administration. Not only human beings but also so many animal species have badly affected and lost their habitat. I am very sorry and full of anger for these profit-seeking acts.

Question by Yetkin O., Turkey:
You announced last year that you founded the Unit for Climate Change and Adjustment in the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality. What is your strategy to fight climate change in terms of cooperation with other mayors around the world?

Question by Simay U., Ankara:
According to the World Health Organization’s air pollution report, townships with the most polluted air in Ankara are Kayas and Sihhiye. What do you plan to do to improve the air health of Kayaş and Sıhhiye?

Question by Mehmet A. A., Ankara:
Do you have some projects to increase the green park areas all around the Ankara town center. They are important especially retired and disabled people.

Question by Nilufer E., Ankara:
My question is: how to solve the problem of flood when it rains heavily? This problem have not been solved by the previous mayors.

Question by Dilayda G. Ç., Ankara:
As a metropolitan municipality do you have any projects regarding recycling? For instance in the neighbourhood I live, there is no place where we can throw away our waste materials separately according to their material type such as paper, plastic, metal etc. Do you have such a projects as providing every neighbourhood proper boxes to enable people to throw away their wastes according to their types?

Question by Zeynep E., Ankara:
My question is: when will it be possible to have widespread recycling collections. Is there a possibility to enforce recycling in large blocks of apartments which we have countless in Ankara.

Question by Denis R., Ankara:
Ankara has turned out into a city full of street dogs. I see packs of dogs in every neighbourhood of the city. These dogs are regularly fed by animal lovers from the neighbourhoods. Most often the food served to these dogs are leftovers, which smell and add moisture to dogs' poo (bad smell and look). Also, a lot of these dogs have become extremely dangerous to people and attack or bark especially at night. They even attack pet dogs when their owners try to walk them in parks. My question is the following: What are you going to do with these dogs and do have a readymade strategy to keep them away from the neighbourhoods so that people can walk in peace? Thank you in advance for answering the questions. 

Question by Eylül K., Ankara:
I love animals very much and I am very uncomfortable with the treatment of stray animals in Turkey. As the Mayor of Ankara, do you have plans to prevent this negative attitude towards stray animals and to offer them a safe living space?


Mayor Yavas replies to all above
questions on the environment:
We have started a transformation in Ankara. One of the most important parts of this transformation is to give value on nature and environment. The area around the Çubuk 1 Dam, the first dam of our Republic, has been inactive since 1994. Now we have transformed it into a magnificent recreation area where history and the environment come together. We also opened “the 30 Ağustos Zafer Parkı” to the public and it became a magnificent public park as in European countries. In both parks, public concerts are held and activities are organized. Urban furnitures are compatible to nature. No plastic, no concrete.

We are building Turkey's first skate park to international standards.

We are currently working on large-scale parks in 14 regions of Ankara, the largest of which is the Batıkent Recreation Area, which is built on 500 decares.

In our existing parks, we organize special trails and entertainment areas for animals in what we call "pati park". We have now started this practice in three of our parks; we will soon spread it all over Ankara.

We participated in the tender of two areas in Ataturk Forest Farm area. It should be functioned in accordance with the historical texture of the region; concrete shouldn't take place in the area. In the first area, we are creating a farm in accordance with Ataturk's heritage and donate the feed crop to farmers of Ankara. In the other area, we are building a large park area.

Here, I want to emphasize that the city administrators should talk to the citizens. Be open to ideas and objections. They should make correct diagnoses and should not harm the nature in their activities. Of course, a road or a building can be built in a city. The important point here is that these decisions include compliance with the law, nature and citizens opinion. For example, we revised our interchange project on Turan Güneş Boulevard due to some objections from the locals. We will continue to stay away from the "My decision, I want it to happen" mentality.

“Earthquake Risk Management and Urban Improvement Department” was established for the first time in our municipality during our term. As soon as it was established, we received a grant of 444 thousand dollars from the Republic of Korea to be used in studies on disaster planning within the framework of the "2020 K-City Network Smart Cities Cooperation Program".

We evaluate not only the present but also the future risks of our city. We have established activities such as civil organization against disasters, establishing a volunteer network, emergency awareness studies, and a first-stage information transfer project with the janitors, who are around 200,000 in Ankara, within our department. We also make mobile applications and software for easy access to detailed information about scenes. The Ankara Fire Brigade Department also supports the issue with its trainings and teams. Disasters, which are called "urban floods", are experienced in cities due to climate changes and wrong development plan implementations.

While there is heavy rain in a district, we can see that the sun is shining in a district right next to it. This requires serious infrastructure investments on one hand and fast, effective intervention on the other. That's why we continue to work on infrastructure in many regions of Ankara. In case of emergency situations, we immediately intervene with all our relevant units. We did a flood map study and tried to support it by establishing emergency response teams, although there have been disasters that have not been experienced in Ankara in the last two years. As the Municipality, we provided financial and moral support to those people affected by disasters. Obviously, we have suffered from climate change, but by increasing the number of teams and response equipment, we aim to improve access to problems and solve infrastructure problems immediately.

Again, for the first time in our term, “Climate Change and Adaptation Branch Directorate” was established in our Municipality. The "Local Climate Change Action Plan", which will last for 210 days, started with the contract signed on 26 November 2020. The first stakeholder meeting with the widest participation in Turkey was held with the participation of municipal units, public institutions, NGOs, professional chambers and universities. In order to reduce the factors that cause climate change and to be least affected by climate change, adaptation studies will be carried out and the findings will be shared with public.

We are implementing our "Climate Positive Area" park project, which is a first in Turkey, where both carbon footprint reduction and adaptation are combined within the scope of observing climate change studies and fighting climate change. We have prepared our greenhouse gas emission reports and Climate Action Plan. In this context, we will have the opportunity to both take part in international platforms and apply to European Union projects. We also want to construct new projects with international collaborations. We have started our studies to participate in the Cities Race to Zero program, which adopts the goals of the Paris Agreement. We were also invited to the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties.

We even bought our buses as part of the EBRD's Green Cities Action Plan and our consultant assignment has been completed. Next year we will have a very comprehensive pilot area applied environmental report.

We are also preparing a “Noise Action Report” for the first time in Ankara. Since certain data can only be accessed by preparing reports, we attach importance to producing reports and data sets. We prepare our plans and analysis based on these reports.

The issue of stray animals is an important urban problem that cannot be resolved in countries like ours. However, we are trying to minimize the problems of this issue. We are building a Cat House in the Sincan district. Apart from this, we are building a modern shelter with a capacity of 10 thousand animals in the Karataş neighborhood. We opened a Sterilization and Adoption Centre; here we adopt our lovely friends. In addition, in order to minimize aggression, we place feeding facilities that are called “foodmatics” in certain areas. However, due to the differences between those who love animals and those who are afraid of them with the provisions in the Laws until today, our duties and authorities were also limited. I believe that very soon we will reduce this problem to the lowest levels in our city.

We switched to the xeriscaping model with the rain water collection project against the drought problem. We aim to both reduce the water usage rate and manage it correctly while minimizing accidents caused of the loss of life during landscaping works.

We are rapidly continuing our infrastructure works to install solar energy systems on the roofs of our municipal service buildings.

Within the scope of afforestation efforts, we started the “Green Capital” tree purchase campaign with the trees that we had the Ankara producers grow. We are now one step closer to our green Ankara dream with the planting of trees purchased by our donors at 5 locations. After these 5 regions, we will continue to progress step by step.

By this way, we aim to increase Ankara's environmental awareness, combat climate change and create a greener capital city with innovations.



BUILT ENVIRONMENT

Question by Can A., Turkey:
Dear Mayor, as you know, Ankara is known as a bit of ‘concrete city’. Thus, my question is basically what are your long-term plans to turn Ankara into a ‘greener’ city. I am asking this question as a recent graduate of METU, previous resident of Ankara and a lover of "METU Forest (ODTÜ Ormanı)".

Question by Hasan Ç., Ankara:
What is your plan to stop concrete-covered type of urbanization for our capital city Ankara?

Question by Elif S., Ankara:
As someone who was born and raised in Ankara, I don't like Ankara's city plan and urban transformation at all. Slums in one place, residences in another. So, what are their thoughts and actions about the city plan?

Question by Zeynep A., Ankara:
The historical symbols of Ankara, namely historical buildings , recreation areasare being demolished by the central government decision makers. What policies will you develop to preserve and repair the memory of the city?

Question by Seyham A., Ankara:: You have been doing great and provided many people-focused services since you have taken up office. We, as Ankara citizens, are most grateful. In one area I believe, however, that things have been a bit slow. It concerns the development and promotion of Ankara’s many historical, political and cultural values to increase cultural tourism and to create a better awareness of these values among both Turkish and international tourists. 

Question by Ugur C. Y., Ankara:
Do you have any plans to build a square closed to vehicles in the city center? I imagine a green square supported by public transportation, open dining areas, and covered with cycling roads. Is there any long-term planning to build such an area in the city center?

Question by Ali K., Erdogan C.,and Baykal V., Ankara:
What are your plans regarding “Ankapark” which was the biggest waste of everything this country has ever seen, also what could have been done instead of Ankapark?

Question by Ismican G., Ankara:
My second question is what do you think about AnkaPark? Like it's totally unusable and unnecessary, can you turn it to a good thing for environment? Or do you have any plans about it? 

Question by Binnur I., Turkey:
What do you think about the Canal Istanbul Project? We think that this destructive project, which will start in June, will end the Montreux Straits Convention. We need your help in this matter. Can you gather us under one roof and support Ekrem I˙mamog˘lu for the cancellation of the Kanal Istanbul project? This issue has become the most important issue of our country for the continuity of our republic.


Mayor Yavas replies to all the above
questions on the built environment:
Wrong zoning implementations in cities appear as first means that kills the city. Unfortunately, this faulty construction has been practiced in Ankara for years. Settlement area of Ankara, which has a population of 6 million, is only three percent of its total area. In a sense, the city was jammed and rendered vertical. 97 percent of Ankara’s land is empty. This shows us a serious unplanned urbanization. At the same time, this can also become a big benefit gate for specific circles.

We care more about the sun than a skyscraper. In this respect, we ended all of the vertical zoning practices. In our term, there wasn’t a single decision taken in the City Council in this way. Based on our period, I can say all political parties and city councilors also took a firm stand on this subject. Ankara has become grey, concreted and lost its soul with wrong practices in this regard. We are now working to back the city to its essence again.

Pedestrianization of city squares isn’t in our jurisdiction. However, we think this should be applied certain days of a week. Our Ankara City Council is organizing a sign campaign on this subject. We will continue our attempts to make it happen.

Unfortunately, Ankapark is the biggest loss of old management mentality for citizens. Cost of the project is 750 million dollars (€ 633 million). Although objection of all non-governmental organizations and related associations, it was constructed with “My decision, I want it to happen” thought. And the time proved that academicians are right. The public’s money melted among piles of iron, the park was closed.

Our legal struggle continues to get the park back from the operator who leased it almost “free”. Lastly a measure was put into the transfer process by showing the only 50 thousand TL (€ 5,000) as collateral for the 750 million dollar investment. Thus, we are not allowed to enter the facility and control anything.

Every passing day, that toys are continuing to suffer millions of TL loss, robbery is happening in the field, which we cannot control. This case is not sustainable; the money spent for this project is the public’s money.

When we get Ankapark back, we will decide its fate together with the citizens of Ankara. We will talk, discuss and we will decide together the future of that area with a “common sense.”

The same problem continues about Canal Istanbul Project. Although many scientists talk about their reservations and the damage it will cause, still "My decision, I want it to happen" thought is dominant. The Project will damage Istanbul and our country with ecological effects and economic devastation. I give great importance to the objections of Mr. Ekrem Imamog˘lu, Mayor of Istanbul, on this subject.

We have restored Ankara Castle area. We have started to draw historical axes and we will transfer information to these points with both digital accesses (QR codes) and signboards. We attach more importance to the museums and our historic areas. We started to reconstruct the ancient Roman Bath and Roman Theatre. History of Ankara has hosted many civilizations, for this reason, we also apply for projects to organizations such as UNESCO.

Protection orders make a judgment for some monuments and temples. There is history such as Temple of Augustus, Justinian Pillar. We have created renovation plans and projects under title of “From the Castle to the Tower.” Also, we organize various competitions.

After the studies of determining tours, we aim to make invitations to the tourism sector representatives, to carry out activities with students as a city of universities, to objectify with the books, to build libraries and youth centers, to prevent to loss of the history with digital virtuality. We believe we can receive our citizen’s opinions on this point. As a city with 19 universities, we establish strong collaborations and projects with universities. In addition, we determine road maps in our meetings with Embassies in order to develop tourism in Ankara. In a short time, we will adapt the much more comprehensive an integrated version of the Beypazarı model with our solidarity culture, with the pandemic allowing us to return to our normal lives.



ENERGY

Question by Bilgin K. Ankara:
For the use of more renewable energy in the city of Ankara, roofs should be designed to be more suitable for the mounting of solar panels. What are the plans of the municipality for approving architectural plans for the mounting of solar panels?

Question by Mustafa C. and Nurseli C., Turkey:
Do you have any plans for solar energy production to be used for heating instead of natural gas, which is imported from neighbouring countries and costly?

Question by Dilayda Ç., Ankara:
As far as I know, the metropolitan municipalities own a share of the natural gas companies of the cities even though the share is small. However, in Ankara the natural gas marketing company is totally privatized and Ankara metropolitan municipality has no share in this company. Therefore, they can freely apply their own rules in a way that is almost always to the detriment of people. As a metropolitan municipality do you have any legal attempt or action to reverse this situation?

Question by Bilge K., Ankara:
We are in an era that renewable energies are the solution for pollution in cities. What percentage of the city of Ankara currently supplies electricity with renewable energies, and how much does it aim to increase it in 5 years from now? 


Mayor Yavas replies to all
the above questions on energy:
Unfortunately, Ankara is the city that has dropped behind in this regard and no plans have been made until our term. We make many attempts to change this negativity. As a first step, we attach more importance on using solar energy in the municipal buildings that we have just built or underwent major repairs. We establish solar panels at Ankara Intercity Bus Station (AŞTİ), so that it will produce its own energy. We will begin transformation from our municipal buildings.

Natural gas privatization process was carried out in the previous term and in a very dubious manner. These companies have critical importance in terms of service providing; on the other hand they were already profitable companies. We are filing a criminal complaint with the courts about the negativities that we have detected regarding all these sales transactions. One day, Ankara will compensate at least some of this cost it has lost. In this regard, I also care very much about the “Renewable Energy and Environment Technologies Center” which we opened recently. Grass which is gathered from parks and green fields is being turned into organic fertilizer by the use of a composting technique. So that the water consumption decreases, soil yield increases. At the same time the Municipality saves 4 million TL (€ 395,000) per year.

I can easily say that the Capital City will become a much more eco-friendly city with electric buses, compost facilities and solar panels in the near future.



WATER SHORTAGES

Question by Bilgin K. and Tanju K., Orhan G., Emine Z., Turkey:
We are expecting a water shortage in Ankara in the coming years due to global warming and drought. What are your plans to minimize this problem?

Question by Burcu G., Turkey:
Water crisis is at the door. We need strong planning and strategies urgently for all cities. Do you have short and long term projects for water?

Question by Seza I., Ankara:
Anatolia has water shortage this year, besides asking people not to waste water, what else are you planning in doing?

Question by Nurseli C., Ankara:
How much wastewater does Ankara recycle?


Mayor Yavas replies to the above
questions on water shortage:
Both the global climate changes and distorted construction and zoning changes that have been going on for many years in our city consist of seasons and various features. Graduated water price system is the most important saving measure accepted by all over the world and we made great effort to get approval from the City Council for this topic. Despite the advice of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization and practices of the municipalities that are members of the ruling party, this wasn’t accepted for a long time. After a lot of effort, we achieved this transformation. From now on our citizens who use water normally will continue to payoff the same. However, our citizens who fill pools, wash their cars or use water to spray their gardens will either save money or pay more for their usage.

Apart from that, we started rainwater harvesting in our big parks. We are setting up rainwater storage areas in our parks one by one and ensuring that they supply their own irrigation system.

Contrary to any developed country in the world, trees were planted on concrete in the central median areas of the roads in Ankara. All of these trees dry up over time. Now we have focused on dry landscaping (xeriscaping) studies based on today’s climate changes. Thus, we plan to save water for our future.

Apart from this, we frequently prepare informative advertisements for our people and call for water savings. We use the latest technology to detect leaks in pipes and continue our leak prevention efforts in many parts of our city.


TRANSPORT

Question by Turgut Ö., Ankara:
Underground systems are one of the most important transportation means in big metropolitan areas in all over the world. Due to previous majors’ poor vision & administration, these underground systems has started very late in Ankara and currently needs to be developed as a network. I am aware that such projects are very costly and time consuming.. What is his plans to develop a broader network of underground metro systems in a 10 years time perspective for Ankara ?

Question by Metin A., Ankara:
You promised during the election campaign over 600 km U Tube for Ankara! Kindly ask you how many km you have achieved until to day after 2 years?

Question by Halime A., Ankara:
I believe one of the main problems is traffic jam in Ankara. I have read that Yavas is buying many buses for public transportation after many years. Although this will help public transport I think the real solution will be a real big, spread network of metro/underground. This eventually will end up with less use of private cars. I believe this will be a win-win solution for the problem. What does Yavas think and plan to overcome this problem.

Question by Kutay K., Ankara:
My question is when will metro stations between Aşti and Söğütözü be connected? People from Ankara have been waiting for years. 

Question by Solmaz A., Ankara:
Residents of Ankara in need of safe and cheap public transport. How do you plan to provide cheap and safe public transportation a for the residents of Ankara?

Question by Atahan G., Ankara:
Ankara has some lack of transportation options. (for example, no metro lines to the airport). What are your new plans for transportation in Ankara?

Question by Ismican G. Ankara:
My first question is that bicycle roads you made in different areas in Ankara, do you consider making them in other areas? It would be very great! Because as a person who loves riding a bike, unfortunately we really don't have roads for it.

Question by Ersin Ç., Ankara:
How you will solve the parking problem in the city, I mean people are parking on the streets and unfortunately this is a big challenge finding a way to walk!

Question by Emrah K., Ankara:
Will you consider smart transportation on the main roads of the city? For example, unmanned buses, unmanned trains, traffic regulator lights with artificial intelligence.


Mayor Yavas replies to the
above questions on transport:
Regarding the metro system, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure gave permission about two places. These are the extension of the Mamak underground route systems to Nato Road with a line of approximately 8 km and the other is the merger of the 700 meters Sogutozu-ASTI line.

As soon as we took the office, we started working on this issue. We are working on such projects. We will also finish the drilling works. We aim to complete the Sogutozu Line and open new stops at the Mamak Line within my term of office. There is an underground route that hasn’t been opened by the municipality for 25 years. I hope that I will be the first Mayor to start a railway construction and open an underground line in a term. The construction of the other underground line had been handed over to the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure before I became Mayor of Ankara. Therefore, the Ministry deals with all the railway issues in Ankara.

I would like to add one thing here. When we took the office, the Ministry had allocated a budget of 19 million TL (€ 1.87 million) in two years for revenue from underground line. However, as soon as I started work, a new decision was taken overnight, so we had to payback 353 million TL (€ 34.8 million) to the Ministry in two years. In other words, while the payback period was 235 years before us, this period is now reduced to 12 years. This brought a sudden and huge financial burden on the municipal budget.

Despite all this, we will continue our work without interruption. We will continue to create the capital’s comfortable and healthy transportation projects.

In this direction, in addition to the metro works, we started to build bicycle paths for the first time in our city. We built 24 km of bicycle paths in parks, industrial areas and university campuses. We have completed 2.5 km road for urban bicycle transportation.

We are going to start the tender process for other directions soon. We will realize 53 km of urban bicycle paths to our city. Our bicycle operating system project continues. We will include 408 electric bicycles in our operating system at 34 electric bicycle stations. For the first time in Turkey, we established a ‘Bicycle Assembly’ within the City Council. We continue the process by exchanging views with them. In addition, we prepared two separate reports. These are called Bicycle Master Plan and Bicycle Strategy Plan.

Unfortunately, no new buses have been purchased to Ankara since 2013. We bought 301 new buses. All of these buses, most of which are running with natural gas, will be put into use until the end of 2022. In addition, with the European Union Grant, we will provide 3 electric buses and 1 electric bus charging station. Our 57 midi buses will be in service by the end of this year. Within the scope of the bus project that has converted from diesel engine to electric engine, which we started in our municipal subsidiary, we will add 22 renewed electric buses to our fleet.

With the ‘Park and Continue’ system, we will integrate private vehicles into public transportation. We opened a parking area next to the National Library Station with the capacity of 430 vehicles. By implementing this system at 17 points in a short time, we will encourage our citizens to park their private cars and use the subway. We are carrying out the project works for the Ulus nostalgic tramline and tram bus line.


CULTURE & THE ARTS

Question by Meltem E., Ankara:
What are your plans about the cultural renewal of the city? As far as I can remember, you claim to make the city a very rich cultural attraction to people all around the world. What are the concrete steps you take to achieve this goal?

Question by Eylül K., Ankara:
I have two questions for Mr. Yavas. One of them about the financial difficulties that the musicians have suffered during pandemic since all the music halls and bars/performance places were closed for over one year: Does he have any plans to support the musicians during pandemic and after pandemic conditions changed? What are his recent projects on that subject and you planning to increase the number performance places that municipality has?


Mayor Yavas replies
to Meltem and Eylül:
Ankara is a historical city, the Capital of the Republic. It has a strong history with unique cultural features. We would like to carry out the projects that will reveal them. Although we had to postpone some of our projects due to the pandemic, now we are closing the gap.

We completed the first stage of our renovation and restoration works on the historical Ankara Castle. The tender for the second stage was completed and the work has begun. For the third stage, which is the last stage, our project works are continuing.

Apart from that, we continue to work for the Ulus renovation project. After the destruction of the 100th Anniversary Mall, we will make a big square in the Ulus district, the heart of our Republic.

We also carry out important works in the ancient Roman Theatre, which has a history of 2000 years. We will include the Roman Theatre to the tourism of our city, which we will restore by preserving its original texture and even be able to hold concerts there.

We continue to restore historical structures and fountains in many districts of Ankara. We determine routes to attract foreign tourists to our city we will make plans with tour companies and Embassies. Millions of people come to Anıtkabir (the resting place of Ataturk) every year. We will determine routes for the visitors and provide accommodation in the city. As someone who has achieved this before when I was the Mayor of Beypazarı, I believe that cultural tourism in Ankara will accelerate.

Our musicians fell on hard times during the pandemic. We have tried to support them within the bounds of possibility, like we do to every segment of the society. We provided a monthly financial support of “500TL” (approximately € 50) to our musicians for 4 months. Except this, we came together with their non-governmental organizations and provided food supply to each and every one of them. Every year, we provide hot meals all through the Ramadan period.

With the normalization process, our musicians perform under the name of "happiness stages" in 24 parks among Ankara every week now. Both we provide financial support to them and we organize events to have a good time for our citizens, who had to stay at home during the epidemic. Our musicians are also very happy to be able to perform their art after a long time and to be applauded. We are planning to continue this support by increasing the number of parks that they can perform.



EDUCATION & YOUTH

Question by Omer S., Ankara:
In the Developing World, young people are more involved in politics and care about both nature and technology. What do you think about the need to include Z generation youth in municipalities?

Question by Hakan B., Turkey:
Education is a big problem for future kids of Turkey. Do you have any project about education for future?

Question by Hakan K., Ankara:
What are your project about child education, What are your projects to support children especially girls?

Question by J. K., Ankara:
How will you / can you subsidize high quality high schools that are not religious based, in the city and surrounding towns and how will you attract high quality teachers to them, thereby giving the population an inexpensive, very high quality alternative to the imam-hatip schools, so that we can begin to compete with those religious high schools in terms of lower price (if not Totally Free ! ), and in terms of a high / higher quality of education showing wider range of subjects taught and showing more experienced teachers than the competition?

Question by S. D. O., Ankara:
Ankara is known as the city of universities in Turkey. Here we have 19 universities. This means Ankara is also the city of the students attending the universities. Mansur Yavaş had had some projects to support them before the pandemic times. The universities are planned to start on September 13 for the coming academic year. There are a number of students from different cities of Turkey so they stay in the dormitories in Ankara. They also have had really hard times in COVID-19 times. As one of the faculty members in the university in ANKARA, I would like to ask : "What kinds of projects are they planning to support these students in all different aspects such as social, economic and transport?"

Question by Yasemin Y. Ankara:
What could be do done to persuade highly educated young people to start a career in Turkey and not move abroad?

Question by Irem N., Ankara:
I live in Altındağ district of Ankara. I am high school student. Mansur Yavaş is one of the presidents who fulfils his duty in the best way and I support him wholeheartedly. What kind of future projects does he think of for students living in Ankara? Does it consider a project with foundations that offer various opportunities for students, such as abroad? I want Ankara to be a natural settlement. Can we prevent Ankara from growing with unplanned urbanization and see an Ankara where green areas are abundant in the future?

Question by Denis R., Ankara:
Do you have any plans to increase the number of university student hostels?

Question by Figen K., Ankara:
You use technology very well to communicate with young people and you follow new technological developments closely. Can you talk about the contribution of communicating with young people to Ankara?


Mayor Yavas replies to the above
questions on youth and education:
I sincerely believe that the problems faced today will be solved in the future only with the youth. Therefore, Ankara has become one of the cities that put emphasis on youth projects in the world. I care about communicating with them, getting their opinions and developing projects for them.

As soon as we took the office, one of the first things we did was to provide 50 percent water discount in student houses. Then we developed a public transportation system, which they can travel monthly for a very cheap fee. As I mentioned before, I believe that the internet is a basic human right like air and water. That's why we provided free internet service to 918 villages and 35 big squares. We provided free internet service for 30 thousand children in need during the distance education period.

We also paid the entrance fees of universities and public institutes’ exams for our students whose families receive social assistance from our municipality. Since these exams are required high entrance fees. In order to prevent children from being away from education, we paid the debt of families in need, which could not pay their electricity bills. We organized online preparatory exams during the examination periods and provided free consultancy service during preference periods. We help disadvantaged schools by organizing book campaigns. We also landscape gardening of many schools.

We are opening a “Capital Youth” section for young people on the digital platform we call “Municipality 4.0”. Now, young people can make requests from us by making videos through our mobile application. We have established units to carry out these demands and I personally follow the results.

We care about the future of our youth and their meeting with today's technologies. We started our online training program on many subjects such as architectural drawing, mobile game technologies, mobile phone applications, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, 3D modelling, digital arts and animation.

On the other hand, we are establishing technology centers in different regions of Ankara. We will open the first one in August in our northern region. We are also carrying out to establish technology centers in Ulus, Dikmen and Çankaya regions. Here, we will provide our young people both technological opportunities and trainings. Our municipality will be a bridge between foreign entrepreneurs and our youth. On the other hand, we will enable our youth to develop software on issues that the Municipality needs, such as water meters. We will also make Ankara the capital of technology.

Before the pandemic, we provided free shuttle services to schools for children whose families receive social assistance and supported some for our public transportation buses for free. We will continue this practice with the start of face-to-face trainings. Again, we organize free ring services to our universities, which are difficult to reach to the campus area. We welcome our students with a hot soup in the morning in front of the campuses during the winter months and wish them success.

Not only educational support, but also a city should be liveable for young people. In cooperation with universities, we organize “mural art” works in many points of our city. We will continue our "Pubg Tournament" and "Robot Competition" events that we organized before the pandemic. We established an e-sports team within our municipality and became the champion of Turkey in the women’s category, while the men finished the league in the sixth place.

We have started to get the results of all these efforts right away. According to the University Research Laboratory reports, Ankara rose to the 2nd place in 2020 in the student-friendly cities while it was ranked 10th in 2019.



GOVERNANCE

Question by Nezaket O., Turkey:
How can mayors contribute to democracy and civil rights?

Question by Oya O., Turkey:
What is your best practice, your best solution that could be applied by all municipalities all over the World, which will carry all citizens into a better life in terms of economics?

Question by Hidir Y., Ankara:
What do you do for transparency and getting rid of corruption in a sustainable matter.

Question by Ahmet C., Ankara:
Despite the government's partisan and unsupportive behaviour against you, you are quite successful. How can you deal with this negative situation and what would be your suggestions to the mayors who are in a similar situation?

Question by Güler K., Ankara:
As the Mayor of the main opposition party, how have you been able to generate funds for your projects and able to provide such amazing service to the residents of Ankara against all the odds and most importantly against all of the sabotaging manoeuvres originating from the ruling party ?

Question by Dogan P., Ankara:
I am an elderly man of 82. Up till now I had voted for a number of politicians, some seemed reliable when they were in the opposition, but when they took power they all changed and became a different man. Now how can I trust that you will be the same man at any time of your life? 

Question by Bahattin K., Ankara:
In an interview before the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality election, Mr. Mansur Yavaş stated that there is air pollution, tap water is not drinkable, there is a transportation problem and there are many economic problems. What did he do about these problems after he was elected president? Are there any problems it has resolved?

Question by Turgut Ö., Ankara:
I have observed that, after being elected, with the help of Human Relations Organization of the Municipality , he changed the Organization Structure from a corrupted, poor performing, civil servant company to efficiently running, transparent company showing actions and results to citizens, which is a clear success story from my point of view. I really wonder how he managed to do this , being aware that this is not an easy modification.

Question by Tezer de. G., outside Turkey:
The Turkish President is trying to close all the taps of possible resources because Mr. Mansur is from the opposition party. How is he creating the necessary funds to function so successfully?


Mayor Yavas replies to the
above questions on governance:
Before taking over the office, we had promised that we would bring a transparent, participatory and accountable approach. An administration that provides these, in fact, automatically solves the big problems in all matters.

We said we will be transparent and started broadcasting all tenders live. We established our Municipality television channel broadcasting on the internet. Even in the municipality corridors, the tenders can be followed. We publish audit reports and financial statements on our website every month. In other words, our citizen can control where their money is spent. Periodically, we turn financial situations into brochure and share them with our public. We take every issue seriously. We announce the cost of the huge investments we have made with banners in the region where that investment is located. We announce our annual debt situation and investment budget on billboards.

We also had cameras installed on our snow plowing vehicles. When it snows, you can see which vehicle is in which region, and you can follow the action connecting to the camera inside that vehicle. With the live tender broadcast, companies that did the same job in the past are now doing the same job for 1/5 cheaper prices.

As a result of all these efforts, we were deemed worthy of transparency award by the Transparency International in last year. We also received ‘‘Transparency and Governance’’ award from the Human Development foundation (INGEV).

I give great importance to the governed of a city with a “common sense”. In this respect, participatory understanding is invaluable for us. We activated Ankara City Council. At the moment, we broke the Turkey record with approximately 1500 stakeholders from non-governmental organizations, associations, chambers, universities, industrial zones, without distinguishing anyone from any political view. People of Ankara come together and express their ideas for their city. Our City Council has also crowned this success with an international award. We received the “International Participation Impact Award” from the International Association Facilitators, which has been operating since 1994 and doing research in 65 countries.

While we were preparing our 2021 budget, we sent an official letter to 565 non-governmental organizations and got their opinions. We activated the “Your Say” application module in our Başkent Mobil application last month. Now residents of Ankara can decide on an implementation to be made in the city and we can even conduct regional-based surveys. We tried its first application and asked the residents of the Yapracık region what they wanted to do with our municipality land in that region. We received answers mostly for green area and kindergarten. We will put this into practice very soon.

We reach our headmen (Mukhtar) and apartment managers via relevant section in the online application.

With our application called “The Purple Map”, we listen to women and help women who have been subjected to violence.

Everyone in Ankara knows that they have a right to speak related with the city administration. This is our biggest achievement.

Our tap water is clean right now. We publish daily water reports on our website. At the same time, we opened our water treatment plants to the public. Our citizens can visit our plants and inspect the actions themselves.

Unfortunately, when we took office, we detected open sewerage flow in 210 villages and these investments had not been made for years. By the end of 2021, we will have solved all of them. On the other hand, we are replacing and renewing 470 kilometers of old water pipeline, 220 kilometers of which is asbestos (cancerogenic).

It’s true that from time to time, some of our projects are challenged by the government. However we are the solution authorities. We start the legal process on these topics and look for solutions immediately. Especially during the pandemic period, poverty was experienced at a high level and food supply was the biggest problem. In these conditions, the public does not want to see someone who is constantly arguing, but someone who is by their side. We provided this. When the government appropriated the Municipality’s aid money, we immediately established our bridge system and opened a website that directly connects helpful people with people in need. In other words, the IBANs of those who want to help and those who request assistance match without a security breach on our software, and the parties do not see each other. We started to get through difficult times with solidarity. Of course, we still have a way to go, but we are trying to produce applications where we can act in unity.

By this way, all the process will be transparent as always and we will continue to work solution-oriented.



COVID

Question by Figen K., Ankara:
Managing a city with a large population is not easy, especially in the time of the Covid pandemic, you aimed to help everyone. Can the steps you took in this regard turn into permanent solutions for Ankara?

Question by Hülya, Ankara:
We know that during COVID pandemic your administration has reached to over 500,000 people for food and financial help. Not only you supplied seeds to farmers also guaranteed to purchase the harvest to distribute among the poor people of the city. I would like to know will there be expansion of these services, and any further agricultural goals that you may have?

Question by Gulsen H., outside Turkey:
How do you deal with the people who do not want to have the Covid vaccine?

Question by Burcu K., Ankara:
What are the lessons learned by his team from Covid-19 in terms of managing and supporting the city and the citizens of Ankara during such difficult times?


Mayor Yavas replies to the
above questions on Covid:
When the COVID-19 started, firstly, we were all concerned. This phenomenon caused many damages, especially in health. We lost many of our citizens. It is such a disease that people could not go to their families. Despite all these negative circumstances, we showed importance of unity and solidarity in Ankara. Maybe it was the only good development. Without discriminating anyone, 6 million people became one and supported each other. Our solidarity campaigns received tens of millions of Turkish liras of support. We produced masks with the unemployed tailors and distributed them to the public free of charge. We distributed the social aid packages of our municipality through unemployed transporters. We did grocery shopping for homes with unemployed motor couriers. Can you imagine, in a city of 6 million people, we provided catering services to the homes of everyone who got the COVID-19 disease and demanded a hot meal from us.

We provided food, mask, gloves and disinfectant support. We had free transparent panels installed on all buses, minibuses and taxis in our city. Thus, we minimized the contact between the driver and the passengers. We disinfected workplaces, public institutions and places of worship free of charge. Being aware of the importance of hygiene in this period, we postponed the water bills to avoid water cuts. We did not raise rents of tenants in our municipality and postponed their rents.

We tried to meet all requests for help from sectors such as paper collectors, musicians, bagel sellers, transporters, hairdressers and cafe owners etc.

At the end of the process, we all saw the importance of solidarity and its positive effects. We are planning to continue this spirit of unity and acting together after the pandemic. We will continue to listen to our people, take their ideas seriously and run this city in solidarity.



POLITICS

Question by Gülgün D., Ankara:
Mayor Yavas is one of the best mayors in the history of Turkish Republic. He is an inspiration for many governors in Turkey. He is loved and admired by most of the Turkish citizens who care and feel concerned about their country. He has absolute plans and solutions for many problems of Ankara in these hard times of pandemic. Here is my question for Mayor Yavas: Are you running for presidency of Turkey in the next election? 

Question by Nur G., Ankara:
Dear Mayor Yavas, Being a Mayor of the Capital of a country is a huge responsibility. Every Turkish citizen knows what you have taken on and your accomplishment since then. How can you keep your calmness and dignity in your situation. Hope to see you as a candidate for presidency in the near future.

Question by Berhat Ç., Turkey:
Would you be President of Turkey? We are waiting your reply, we look forward to your presidency. You are our hope. Our homeland is awaiting your service. We do not accept other nominations! If you do not apply, we will come to Ankara. We will protest until you change your mind.

Question by Yasemin Y. Ankara:
I would like you to ask him (I know many will ask the same) if he would ever stand for the presidency of the republic.

Question by Hakim B., outside Turkey:
What relationships do you have with other Turkish and/or mayors of other countries?

Question by Mehmet G., Turkey:
You have been Mayor of Ankara since 2019. During your two years in office what difference, do you think, you have made to your fellow citizens?


Mayor Yavas replies to the
above questions on politics:
We have always been with our citizens, especially during the pandemic period. We rushed to help anyone who is looking for a hand in this city, from the representatives of the closed sectors to the musicians, from the female workers who go to house cleaning to the bus drivers. Our campaigns received nearly 70 million TL (€60 milllion) of support in 2 years. Tens of thousands of water bills were paid, tens of thousands of cash support was provided. Everyone competed for kindness. We witnessed in Ankara that kindness is more contagious than illness.

Through www.capitalsinitiative.org web platform, we brought together the capitals of 46 different countries. With this initiative of which we are the pioneer, we followed the measures taken for epidemic and the developments in the countries and capitals together. We exerted a great example of solidarity both within our city and internationally.

I know that my name has come to the force in polls for the presidency. This is something to be proud of. This means that our services are appreciated by our citizens. However, I have no such thoughts at the moment. Mayoralty of Ankara is a great valuable post and the people chose me to serve them. Right now, we are doing our duty fully motivated and we are trying to be worthy of the love and trust of our people. First, we need to write a success story for Ankara and we are currently achieving this by joining hands with our citizens.