Canal Istanbul Response from Imamoglu: You Don't Build a City in the Desert, This Is Istanbul

İmamoğlu's Reaction to Kanal Istanbul You Don't Build a City in the Desert, This Is Istanbul
İmamoğlu's Reaction to Kanal Istanbul You Don't Build a City in the Desert, This Is Istanbul

IMM President Ekrem İmamoğlupresented their awards to the students who ranked in the 'The Value of Water' themed poster competition organized by İSKİ for middle and high school students. Before the award ceremony, the team that prepared the documentary 'Life with Water' was also awarded with a plaque. Contributing to the documentary with her views, 7-year-old Sare Haberdar presented her marbling work to İmamoğlu when she was 5 years old. İmamoğlu, who gifted Haberdar the book "Inspirational Steps", said, "When I had a daughter, I understood once again; women will save the world” received applause. Emphasizing that Istanbul's struggle with water has been going on for centuries, İmamoğlu said, “The water issue comes first among the issues that cannot be a political material. The water issue, the management of water, cannot be the issue of the well-known boiling cauldron of politics. If we do not talk about the unpredictable growth, unpredictable urbanization model in Istanbul, or if we do not show the strict stances and radical stances regarding taking measures, we will be betraying the ancient city of Istanbul, perhaps the most precious city in history, the most special city.”

İSKİ, the long-established institution of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM), organized a poster competition with the theme of “The Value of Water” for middle and high school students studying in the city, as part of the “22 March World Water Day” activities. A total of 535 students from different schools participated in the competition. IMM President Ekrem İmamoğluBefore the award ceremony held with the participation of; The trailer of the documentary “Life with Water”, which deals with important issues such as global climate change, Istanbul and water, Istanbul's historical water structures, raising awareness and measures to protect our water, was screened.


Speaking after the screening, İmamoğlu said, “There is no chance of life without water. In this respect, we are in the day of awareness, perhaps our most important responsibility. There is an event outside that makes the awareness day valuable. There are extraordinary designs, extraordinary emotions here. I congratulated the award-winning friends and the dear young people. They've done extraordinary work. It was a great guarantee for us that they had that beautiful feeling. The fact that our children and young people are in a more sensitive process makes me happy every time.” Reminding that we are a newly urbanized society, İmamoğlu said, “Most of our children were born in cities. They live in some problems in the cities. They are in life and this develops their reflex, these muscles. E.g; I think our children, who deal with the subject of water, have such profound effects in their drawings that they were able to put on paper many elements that we would not even think of, that influenced them, perhaps disturbed them. It is very gratifying.”


Emphasizing that Istanbul's fight against water has been going on for centuries, İmamoğlu stated that the effort to bring water from Melen to the city was also included in the history of this struggle. Using the expressions, "The story of the project, which we think is the guarantee of Istanbul at the water point, dates back to about 33 years", İmamoğlu underlined that the troublesome process regarding Melen continues. İmamoğlu said, “We will be able to bring water to Istanbul from there in a period of maybe 3 years, maybe 5 years. What does this mean? 40 years. In other words, for nearly 40 years, there has been a struggle to transport water and fresh water from Melen, a dam, to Istanbul.” Pointing out that Istanbul's population, which is officially 16 million, has reached 20 million, including refugees and students, İmamoğlu said:


“Well, how much was Istanbul when Melen started? It was around 5 million. The difference between the process he started and today is fourfold. With such an urbanization perspective, if we walk with a system whose process can be designed, its future is invisible, its future is incomprehensible and unpredictable, we will unfortunately be faced with great shocks, great disasters and great tragedies. In other words, the water issue, in some cities, I wish we could only talk about storing water, water transmission lines or treatment or running water or just saving water. If we do not talk about the unpredictable growth, unpredictable urbanization model in Istanbul, or if we do not show the strict stances and radical stances regarding taking measures, we will be betraying the ancient city of history, perhaps the most precious and special city in history, such as Istanbul. In this respect, we cannot discuss Kanal Istanbul at a time when global warming is burning life in the 21st century, that is, when we are discussing what disasters a few degrees will bring us to. Or we can't even talk about destroying 150 million square meters of nature, agriculture and forest areas with a canal. Or we cannot talk about the design and construction of a city that will carry a new population of 2 million around it. We cannot go and describe it as real estate advertising in some countries. This is not a city building project in the desert. We are talking about a city with thousands of years of history, which has been entrusted to us from the past to the present, where many struggles were fought, where the conquest was made, which was liberated from the occupation, which our ancestors and history entrusted to us as a legacy in the past, and which we have to hand over to the future.”


Saying, “As the Mayor of this ancient city, I feel this in all my cells,” İmamoğlu said, “We are responsible to the world. This is such a city; not any place. In other words, we are not talking about a desert peninsula, a city that was established as a real estate project in 15-20 years. This is Istanbul. In this respect, we should be citizens who feel responsible for Istanbul's water, air, nature, history, every land, every inch of it, every square millimeter. We must be responsible managers. We must be responsible scientists. We must be responsible academics, we must be educators; We must be women, men, children, young people. This is the only way we can secure the water of this city," he said.


Emphasizing that the water issue is one of the issues that cannot be a political material, İmamoğlu said:

“The water issue, the management of water, cannot be a matter of the well-known boiling cauldron of politics. Many people struggled for the survival, existence and transportation of water. We also try to give. Tomorrow our task will be finished. Others will too. İSKİ is a very valuable institution of this city. If you go back to its roots, you may not be able to find its institutional traces, but with its spiritual traces, you can say that İSKİ is a 2000-year-old institution. Because, while repairing the belts, they gave it to İSKİ. İSKİ is being repaired. It is restoring or trying to keep it alive. This means that this institution, this 2000-year-old institution, has been struggling to provide regular water to the city for 2000 years. It fights for purification and distribution. an institution of 2000 years; it cannot be part of a political issue, part of a political process, part of a political debate; shouldn't be. In this respect, we have a responsibility to look at the event in a scientific, technical, administrative and ethical way in every decision to be taken and every work to be done. In that respect, we are a team that tries to carry this feeling and to be worthy of this feeling. I sincerely thank the thousands of workers of this team who are currently working here.”


Emphasizing that İSKİ is going through a very important period of responsibility, İmamoğlu said, “12 years ago, at that time, all political parties voted unanimously and accepted in the 1/100.000 master plan, which says; 'The population of Istanbul cannot exceed 15 million.' That's why we want to design the future of this city. We created the Istanbul Planning Agency for him. Under that corporate roof, we want to talk to all the components of Istanbul, discuss the future of the city, and decide together. Anyone who thinks about this city should not be able to say, 'I want to do this here, I want to do this here, I want to spend this and that here'. These are the things that need to be done by coming to terms with the mind, science, society, and talking to the society. For him, every visual building, these, these, does not mean 'very efficient, very good'. Future generations will pay the price, but future generations will pay the material, moral, but nature-related price. Therefore, we will continue to carry out our duty with this sense of responsibility.”


Emphasizing that they will share every issue and every threat with the citizens and fight with them, İmamoğlu said, “This issue is Ekrem İmamoğlu It's not an issue. This issue is not a matter of a ruler, a group or a political party. It is a matter of finding the truth together. Together we will find the truth. It's not true just because he said it, or it's not wrong because he said it. What is true? We will find it through universal values, with reason and science. We will defend that; Let's leave a very healthy, very productive, abundant water, livable city with a high quality of life to our beautiful children, these dear young people. In his speech, İSKİ General Manager Raif Mermutlu summarized their work to supply water to the city and to purify polluted water. Mermutlu said, “We saw in the poster competition we held with the theme 'The Value of Water' this year; Our young people know the importance of water very well and try to use it sparingly. I believe that these efforts of our young people will be rewarded and a generation more sensitive to water will be raised.”


After their speeches, İmamoğlu and Mermutlu awarded a plaque to the team that first contributed to the documentary. 7-year-old Sare Haberdar, who contributed to the documentary with her views, was also among those who received a plaque. İmamoğlu presented Haberdar, who presented his marbling work to him when he was 5 years old, with the book "Inspiring Steps" as a gift. İmamoğlu's use of Haberdar's words, “When I had a daughter, I understood once again; women will save the world” received applause. İmamoğlu and Mermutlu gave gifts to middle school (Hanenur Çalışkan, Naz Peri İrem Kurt, Ömer Akdağ) and high school students (İbrahim Efe Bekci, Hilal Feyza Sarıgül, Burak Karaağaç) who ranked in the competition.

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