World Mayor 20/21

Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavas
Mansur Yavas, Mayor of Ankara, Turkey, since 2019
World Mayor Nominations 2021
Mansur Yavas, Mayor of Ankara, Turkey

The 2021 World Mayor Prize and Commendations will be conferred on mayors who have been showing leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic and who are now aiming to make their cities more resilient economically, structurally, socially and environmentally. In fact: Stronger | Fairer | Greener. The organisers of the World Mayor Project are looking for mayors who have shown exceptional leadership skills but also, and more importantly, acted at all times with compassion towards those most affected by Covid-19. The pandemic has shown how vulnerable even the richest cities are when confronted with a disaster like Covid-19. Forward-looking city leaders will now begin to re-think how their communities can be better protected against future threats, both natural and man-made.

Mansur Yavas, Mayor of Ankara, Turkey, has been shortlisted for the 2021 World Mayor Prize.

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Nominations for
Mansur Yavas
Mayor of Ankara (Turkey)
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Letter in support of Mansur Yavas by Altay Ö., Ankara:
(Altay Ö. is a senior high school student and IBDP graduate. He has participated in Model UN events since middle school and organised a number of youth conferences in partnership with high schools, universities and municipal authorities.)

Mansur Yavas¸- World Mayor
It is a great honor for us as citizens of Turkey and also as residents of its beautiful and culturally abundant capital, Ankara.

The country has a very rich history both in this geography and beyond thanks to the extensive borders of the Ottoman Empire. However, as Ottoman entered a phase of downfall nearly throughout its last 2 centuries, the Balkan Wars that occurred in its borders mainly started to divide and weaken the remainings of the empire. Later on in the catastrophic Great War, the Empire was forced to participate in the war due to the destabilized status it was in, the war was perceived as a way to terminate this status of weakness. Furthermore, the war resulted in failure and further worsened the status of the state and its people, the government in charge had no choice but to allow the victors to invade and control the rich but poorly situated lands of the Empire as they wished. However, a miracle happened with the civil resistance in the inner countryside that spread all around the country that today is Turkey which was lead from nowhere but the city of Ankara. As a result of this resistance what we now know as Turkey had emerged with its capital being Ankara, the city grew under the new regime and became vital for the entirety of the country as well as a symbol of democracy and liberty. Over the 20th century, the city of Ankara remained as the capital and steadily became the second biggest city in the country meanwhile it is the center of state affairs. In the 21st century, now a very important political and economic player not only for the Middle East and Europe but for the whole world, Turkey draws its strength from its capital Ankara and in the last 2 years, Ankara has been administered by Mansur Yavas¸ with great passion, sincerity, and transparency. I hope this letter finds you in the means to reinforce his claim and candidacy for the World Mayor 2021 title.

First of all, for a mayor or any administrative leader, budgeting and the improvement of the economic status is essential. Mansur Yavaş has started the programs in Ankara, for the coronavirus relief program and license to be indebted regarding the municipality’s earlier or ongoing businesses during the coronavirus so that the contractors and employees that have been hired by the Mayor could get their paychecks and complete their construction works, small business loans and/or other businesses that are run with the municipality. This action which he had to get the approval of the city council has come with the approval of his rival party members in the city council. Thanks to this initiative, some other urgent and essential city planning and running organizations such as ASKİ (Water and Canalization Department for Ankara) have been able to go on with their earlier progress and work toward a better quality of service for the citizens of Ankara. Many residents who have been going through difficult times in the COVID-19 pandemic have found a chance to go on with their lives and ease their struggles in these harsh times for the public all thanks to Mansur Yavaş’s debt revitalization plan and license to be indebted for the municipality, showing a sincere and compassionate approach to help the residents of Ankara truly.

The politicians of Turkey from congressmen and congresswomen to the mayors and nearly the entire ecosystem of politics are run by elderly people, causing the youth of Turkey to find it difficult sometimes to connect with them, raise their voices, and most importantly have their voices heard. The Mayor of Ankara has shown great interest in reaching out to the youth and have their voices heard by numerous programs and statements. However, the most recent, innovative, and perhaps surprising way he has done it, which nearly no other major Turkish politicians have ever done, started a Twitch account and had a nice chat with young people of Turkey on a broadcast of his own. He has accepted questions from the youth and you could say that the broadcast had nearly no political edge, it was more like a sincere chat of personal relationships, interests, and the opinions of the youth.

The Mayor of Ankara has lead many charges and campaigns during his 2-year short reign for now, and one of the easiest but impressive things he has done is to sell the expensive office cars that were bought and paid for with taxpayer’s money. It may seem small but the people of Ankara and Turkey and also in the world media, this was a true sign of unity and understanding of the people. For whatever they were worth, it was more than thousands of Turkish liras to the eye of the public, it was an act of understanding the status of the public and an approach to make them feel closer meanwhile showing that their money and efforts are not going to be a means to satisfy the owner of an office, but for the benefit of the people.

Ankara as a city is filled with beautiful buildings and sites, however, the constructions and some of the investments that the previous office of the Mayor have started were causing a headache for the people of Ankara because of how unsuccessful they had become over the years. The reports for the ‘’dead investments’’ of the previous administration have taken up a toll of over 400 million Turkish liras according to some estimates, and for some others, it was even more than that load. For a country and a city with such a big population and even though not at the highest of rates, a population that still has a big percentage of people living under the poverty line or struggling to pay their rent, this sum of over 400 million Turkish liras is more than a failure to the eye.

Therefore, the new mayor has announced this situation to the public in different channels and opened up the archives to prove the reports to a degree, showing everyone that the Mayor’s office could save a lot of its budget just by reprising some of these dead investments or simply get them out of the municipality’s care to prevent further expenses. This movement has brought Mansur Yavaş a softer approach to him from his rival parties and their supporters, if not their full support, placing him in a position of unity especially thanks to the way he has handled this process, making sure that the previous administration is not fully blamed or thrown under the bus but simply a transparent explanation of the bad situation that was going in Ankara.

The opening of the archives and explanation of the municipality’s dead investments have shown that Mansur Yavaş was not only planning to put his agenda of placing the public first and do his best to improve the living standards but also proved that he was going to be righting the wrongs of his predecessors and run his campaigns in his very own transparent way. The transparency of an administration is always a major factor in their evaluation of political standing and success. Over history, the dictators or authoritarian regimes that have glimpsed a run of success over time have always had common ground when it comes to transparency, which was to not have it at all. Of course in the modern era, it is harder to be not transparent because nearly everyone and everything is under watch however, this does not mean that the administrations and leaders are not going to try to hide as much as they are able to.

For instance, just before the start of this year a world leader, possibly the one with the greatest reputation of political and military power based on the state they are in charge of, President of the United States, Mr.Donald Trump has tried to hide numerous facts and events most basic of which were his tax returns, to begin with. Mansur Yavaş on the other hand has taken things to a new level in the opposite direction by opening the archives to show the dead investments of the previous administration but more importantly, opening the Ankara City Council meetings to the public, showcasing the tenders for the municipality construction bids instead of disclosing the details and giving the tenders for a company without the acknowledgment of the public. Mayor Yavaş has opened a new chapter of transparency and sincerity for the residents of Ankara and also as an exemplary leader in this specific field for the entire Turkish Republic.

In concluding remarks, the Mayor of Ankara since 2019, Mansur Yavas¸ has been an exemplary leader for his city and country by outstandingly taking matters into his hands in somewhat ways that were not usual for Turkish politicians, and with his approach to politics, he has shown that transparency and sincerity are the key remarks that make a leader, a servant leader.

I hope this letter helps you to make a decision toward this prestigious award, whether the Mayor of Ankara wins it or not, for I believe it is an internationally recognized honor to help make the living standards of the people of the world into a better future and now.

In the immortal words of the immortal founder of the immortal Turkish Republic :
‘’Peace at home, peace in the world’’

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