New Turkish mayors weaponize transparency against wasteful spending

The Ankara municipality livestreamed a public tender for the purchase of steel pipes to be used in the city sewage system on June 24, and reports indicate that 160,00-300,000 people tuned in to watch the routine government function.

The broadcast was the first of its kind in Turkey and comes as part of a pledge for greater transparency from newly elected mayors with the nation’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), which won a string of victories in recent municipal elections and the Istanbul election do-over.

“It is something very rare, not only in Turkey but also in the world, that people instead of watching movies or TV series are watching a steel pipe tender,” said Oya Ozarslan, chair of Transparency International in Turkey. She told Al-Monitor, “I think people realized they matter, that they have a voice in these processes.”

“Ordinary people on the street are asking, ‘What is the government doing with my taxes?’ and ‘How are they using the resources of the country?’” Ozarslan said. “This is a very good, very promising development.”

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