Interview with Recep Sahin, General Secretary of the Union of Turkish Municipalities
Future Lab: What are the main goals of the Union of Turkish Municipalities at the moment?
Recep Sahin: Our main goals is to support municipalities. Especially three domains are important:
First: Capacity strengthening by trainings, participation to fairs, congresses etc. We work with mayors, council members and all municipal officials.
Second: Defining the problematic areas of municipalities and political lobbying to solve these problems. We have to increase the revenues and boost the financial development of the municipalities. The main preoccupations are urban transformation, public transportation, waste management, water and wastewater issues, i.e; leakages in drinking water network, difficulties in expropriation activities and so on.
Third: Take part in the legislation processes concerning municipalities.
Future Lab: What are the most dynamic cities in Turkey at the moment, and what are the challenges there?
Recep Sahin: In 2014, a law has enlarged the responsibilities of bigger municipalities (in 30 out of 81 provinces). They are now also in charge of many domains, except security, health and education and have to deal with a lot of different technical and socio-economic issues. The new greater municipalities are more busy and have to provide more efforts than others.
Future Lab: Is climate change an issue that the Union thinks should be addressed also on municipality level?
Recep Sahin: Of course, the involvement, effort and handling of the local authorities regarding climate issues are essential. Here, „bottom up“ – initiatives will be very precious. The Mınistry of Environment has issued a climate change action plan in 2010 and municipalities are supposed to improve the efficiency in public transportation, the energy efficiency in buildings, to install proper waste disposal.
Future Lab: Do you believe that more climate friendly cities will be cities with a better life quality also?
Recep Sahin: I believe that the more ecological solution will be the more economic one on the long run. We should achieve this for the sustainability of life, and also taking into account life standards.