22.07.2024

For a decade, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure has not initiated any construction work on the Halkapınar-Otogar Subway, despite investments exceeding 40 billion Turkish liras in three rail systems, two of which have been advanced to completion by the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality. As per the 2024 Investment Program, published in the Official Gazette based on the Presidential decision for approval and implementation, a budget allocation of 3 thousand Turkish liras has been earmarked from the Ministry's funds for the metro line construction this year.

Izmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Tunç Soyer has called on the Ministry to fulfill its responsibilities and asserted that they will closely monitor the situation. Mayor Soyer declared, "If the government remains adamant about not proceeding with the Otogar Metro, let us take charge. Similar to our successful completion of the Narlıdere metro and Çiğli tram projects, we are fully capable of constructing the Otogar metro. We have demonstrated our commitment and determination in bringing the subway to Buca, and we do not seek any special favors; we simply request that the government does not hinder our efforts."

As per the President’s decision on the approval and execution of the 2024 Investment Program, an allocation of 3 thousand Turkish liras has been designated from the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure's budget for the Halkapınar-Otogar Metro. This decision indicates a lack of progress in the 11th year for the construction of the metro line, where no construction work has commenced in the past decade. Mayor Tunç Soyer of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality highlighted their accomplishment of rail system projects exceeding an investment cost of 40 billion liras in the last 5 years. He stated, "Over the past 5 years, we have successfully completed projects such as the Narlıdere metro and Çiğli tram in Izmir, and initiated the construction of the Buca metro. Currently, we have three projects in the planning and tender phases, including the Karabağlar-Gaziemir metro, Örnekköy tram, and Kemalpaşa metro. The government's sole responsibility was to undertake the construction of the Halkapınar-Otogar metro."

If they can't do it, let them leave it to us
Highlighting their anticipation for the Ministry to fulfill its committed investment and pledging to monitor the situation closely, Mayor Soyer stated, "Should the government persist in not proceeding with the Otogar Metro, we are prepared to take on the responsibility. We will construct the Otogar subway, similar to our successful completion of the Narlıdere subway and Çiğli tram projects. Just as we promised and demonstrated determination in bringing the subway to Buca, we are well-equipped to extend the subway to Otogar. We request no special favors, only that the government does not obstruct our efforts."

Izmirians are the judges
Sharing his perspective on the matter, Mayor Tunç Soyer expressed, "Since assuming office in Izmir, we initiated an extensive focus on rail systems. Taking over the 7.2 km Narlıdere metro, we progressed from 12% completion levels and invested 287 million Euros despite challenges such as the pandemic, economic crises, and earthquakes. The metro is set to open in February. Simultaneously, the construction of the Çiğli tram began three years ago, and trial runs have started on this 11 km tram line, with the opening imminent. Notably, the project that has excited me the most in my 5 years of serving Izmir is the Buca Metro. Initially seeming like a dream, this substantial 13.5-kilometer investment with 11 stations faced economic challenges and lacked support from public banks. Through dedication and resource mobilization, we secured 490 million Euros in foreign financing, a significant milestone for Izmir. The foundation was laid in February 2022, and tunnel digging commenced this month, with the aim of increasing tunnel diggers to four by March. The first phase is anticipated to open in June 2026, marking the largest investment in Izmir's history at 765 million Euros, and notably, the largest investment by a municipality in Türkiye. In summary, over the last 5 years, we completed the Narlıdere metro and Çiğli tram, commenced Buca metro construction, and have three projects in the planning and tender phases: Karabağlar-Gaziemir metro, Örnekköy tram, and Kemalpaşa metro. Despite the government's responsibility for the Halkapınar-Otogar metro, we are disappointed to learn of the meager budget allocation of 3 thousand liras for 2024. As Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, we expect the Ministry to fulfill its committed project, and we want it known that we will closely monitor the situation. Finally, I assert that if the government persists in not building the Otogar Metro, we are prepared to undertake the project, just as we successfully did with the Narlıdere subway and the Çiğli tramway. We have the expertise to construct the Otogar metro, as demonstrated in our determined efforts to bring the metro to Buca. No favors are requested; we simply urge the government not to impede our progress."

40 billion from the Municipality, 3 thousand liras from the Ministry
The Izmir Metropolitan Municipality has designated an investment budget of 285 million Euros for the nearly finished Narlıdere metro and 183 million Euros for the Çiğli Tramway, including the vehicles.

The ongoing Buca Metro, anticipated to cost 765 million Euros, including vehicles, is currently under construction. Despite the municipality’s substantial investment of a total of 1 billion 233 million Euros (equivalent to 40 billion 690 million Turkish Liras at the current exchange rate) in rail system projects over the last 5 years, the central government has allocated a mere 3 thousand Turkish Liras to Izmir for the sole metro line it undertook.

 

Mayor Soyer: Just let them cast no shadow

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