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Main opposition-dominated Princes’ Islands residents protest against Istanbul mayor Imamoglu

Main opposition-dominated Princes' Islands residents protest against Istanbul mayor Imamoglu A group including residents of the islands continued to react to the minibuses brought to Buyukada by IETT, which started running on Jun 15, Istanbul, Türkiye, June 16, 2024. (AA Photo)
By Newsroom
Jun 18, 2024 4:01 PM

Tensions between Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu and residents of the Princes’ Islands have escalated due to the deployment of electric minibuses during Eid al-Adha.

The unique motor vehicle ban on the islands, once served by horse-drawn carriages, faced scrutiny for inhumane treatment and related criminal activities, leading to their ban.

Although an electric carriage proposal was popular, it was never implemented. Instead, the municipality introduced electric minibuses to manage tourist traffic, sparking protests, resulting in the police detaining nine protesters.

Residents, who refer to these minibuses as “giants,” argue they cater to tourists, create visual pollution, and disrupt the islands’ social fabric. A confrontation between protesters and Istanbul transportation services’ officials on Eid’s eve resulted in nine arrests.

Despite previous dissatisfaction with the main opposition party, Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) governance, Ali Ercan Akpolat of CHP won the mayoral election for the Princes’ Islands with 55.5% of the vote. The district of Adalar, consisting of nine islands, has a population of about 17,000 and is Istanbul’s smallest district by population but rich in historical and cultural significance.

The controversy over the minibuses highlights the ongoing struggle to balance tourism and local interests while preserving the islands’ unique character. Residents’ resistance underscores their desire to maintain traditions and minimize environmental impact, emphasizing the delicate social dynamics at play in managing the district’s future.

On the other hand, After the March 31st elections, the minibus riot in Adalar becomes the first example of Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu confronting his own voters.

Last Updated:  Jun 18, 2024 5:00 PM