Istanbul is Turkey’s undisputed financial center. Some 31% of the country’s economic output stems from the city. That’s one reason why Istanbul’s coffers are more than full. It doesn’t come as a surprise, then, that money is at the center of Istanbul’s mayoral election campaign.
Ekrem Imamoglu, a candidate with the social democratic CHP, often rails against wasteful spending of taxpayer money by Istanbul authorities. On almost every talk show he appears, he whips out a cardboard sign that says “Israf,” or wasteful spending. It lists the millions that are being spent on company cars, websites and other expenses ― all of them extravagances that he noticed during his 18-day stint as Istanbul’s mayor before Turkey’s High Election Commission relieved him from his post.
When Imamoglu addressed the presumed squandering on CNN Türk, a channel close to the government, the presenter halted the interview, citing airtime. But with Turkey in the midst