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    Ertugrul Ozkok: Istanbul's mayor reveals his true colors

    Hürriyet Haber
    28.05.2008 - 11:59 | Son Güncelleme:

    We present Istanbul to the world as the "City where civilizations meet". Don't we?

    Istanbul is a city where a mosque, a church and a synagogue stand side by side; a "capital city of tolerance".     


    Add to this, the prime minister’s statements in his address to the women’s branch of the AKP in which he said:


    "Nobody will impose his/her life style on the other."


    Let's see what the mayor of the “capital city of tolerance” says regarding a news item published in Hurriyet daily on Monday about an incident to do with the alcohol service of a Turkish restaurant in the city’s historical Sultanahmet district. (Restaurant service policy dictated that alcohol is only served to foreign diners. German MP, Dilek Kolat, of Turkish origin, dining with friends from the German Parliament, was refused alcohol because she was of Turkish origin).


    * * *


    As a matter of fact, those looking at the incident logically have condemned this discrimination and assessed it as "inconsiderate".


    With the exception of just one person;


    Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas.


    "You (Hurriyet daily) had reported this news to put the ruling AKP on the spot," Topbas was quoted as saying in Hurriyet daily on Tuesday.


    "You had hoped to cloud the minds of the people by publishing the unique practices of one restaurant as news and claim that this practice is typical for Turkey," according to Topbas.


    These are the statements of the capital city of tolerance's mayor.


    As I read his statements, I thought "he was probably trying to curry prime minister's favor."


    But he is misguided in this thinking as the prime minister, along with other ministers and the local administration, also assess the restaurant incident as "inconsiderate".


    It is understood that the message he sent to the prime minister did not reach its intended address.


    Hurriyet did not intend to put the AKP on the spot and did not assess the situation as anything more than the revelation of the mentality, "There is alcohol for non-Moslems but not for Moslems."


    But isn't it our responsibility to bring to light such discretionary practices that imposed upon a citizen of this country in front of foreign visitors?


    This is why the statements of Istanbul’s mayor, who I considered civilized up to this point, surprised me a great deal.


    It is this mentality that governs the mega city Istanbul that is of concern.


    I wish I could believe that what he did was simply try to curry the PM's favor.


    If I could believe it, I would simply say that tell his behavior was opportunist.


    But, his statements contradicting with the PM's concerned me greatly.


    But then I started to believe that this was his true way of thinking.


    * * *


    On the other hand I am gladdened by the fact that both the prime minister and the culture minister assess the issue as we do.


    In any event, it is far more meaningful that they oppose it.


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