Lessons for Pakistani mayors – who destroyed even the existing infrastructure and pushed their cities back in time by decades.
“Why do you always ask me about closing bars and brothels?” said Tayyip Erdogan after his 1994 victory as the Mayor of Istanbul. “Why don’t you ask me about buses, rubbish collection, pollution or water?”. Erdogan was a competent and energetic administrator. Even his opponents had to admit that, under his leadership, Istanbul’s residents saw the quality of basic services improve . Residents saw new amenities under Erdogan such as new hospitals, and schools and the expansion of the city’s bus system. Judas trees native to Istanbul appeared again along the city’s boulevards with their signature deep-pink blossom. His administration visibly improved Istanbul’s smog problem by expanding the city’s natural gas distribution system as a replacement for dirty coal burning heaters. Erdogan also tackled Istanbul’s water crisis. In 1994 less than 15% of Istanbul’s residents had access to waste water treatment . By 1998 this figure had climbed to 65%. Today 100 percent sewage of Istanbul is treated before being released to sea. Every citizen has access to piped water and there are no water bowsers operated by ‘state patronised’ bowser mafia clogging and destroying the streets of Istanbul.
Appeared in Dawn on 23 July 2018