Aziz Kocaoglu, Mayor of Izmir, Turkey

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Testimonials for
Aziz Kocaoglu
Mayor of Izmir (Turkey)

The winner and runner-ups of World Mayor 2014 will be chosen based on the number of nominations in relation to the size of their cities and, more importantly, on the persuasiveness and conviction of testimonials received during this year's World Mayor Project. Below we publish a selection of comments received to date about WM nominee Aziz Kocaoglu, Mayor of Izmir, Turkey.

Comment: I would like to vote for Mr. Aziz Kocaoglu. He is a great leader for our city since he has a broad vision and the ability to apply his vision. It is because of his and his team’s projects and services that we, people of Izmir feel at home no matter which part of Izmir we are. Izmir is one of the few big cities in Turkey where the social inequalities are felt less. Public transportation and the entertainment services that suits almost everyone are some reasons I feel that we’re all equals here. The metro, bus, ferry and lately the byclycles are great ways of transportation we use around here which unfortunately does not exist in other cities of Turkey. I have my own car, but I can use public transportation to work which surprises to my friends in other cities but than they say “Oh but you’re in Izmir ! ..” There’re concerts and theaters in Izmir with high quality and are very cheap or free. 2 weeks ago I took my 3 year old to a children’s theatre of the municipality with a ticket of 1 TL (less than a dollar)
He is an honest man feet on the ground.. He is the kind of humble leader we can always see chatting or saying hi to people .. Mr. Kocaoglu is the leader we miss seeing around tv’s in or outside of Turkey. He is polite, caring and intelligent. (By Aylin O, Izmir)

Comment: I'm a native of Izmir but have lived in the United States most of muy life. Izmir, under Mayor Kocaoglu, has become a beautiful, orderly, clean, and modern city, maintaining and enhancing its European character and outlook, while resisting and opposing the "islamization" pressures of the Ankara government. My friends who and relatives who are residents of the city tell me he is one of the most approachable, responsive mayors ever. He well deserves the title of "World Mayor 2014." (By Rachel A B, Dallas, USA)

Comment: Mr.Kocaoglu prioritized an integrated public transportation system in Izmir. He built more stations for the subway system and integrated them very well with the existing ferry, bus and intercity train systems. Now more citizens are using public transportation and less their cars which leads to a more environmentally greener Izmir.

He supported peace and diversity among citizens in an environment where the city takes too much immigration within the country and the middle east. He used cities sources equally for them and helped for their basic and social needs.

He provided great support for the rights and needs of the animals, poor, disabled, children and elderly. He build pavements for the disabled, provided milk for school children, made public transportation free for the elderly.

There are also many other reasons that I may not remember at the moment to favor him. He has a great respect and support from the Izmir citizens. (By Ilknur S, Izmir)

Comment: İzmiri Çok güzel yaptınız metrolar falan güzel denizler iyi turuzim iyi ben 12 yaşındayım Bayraklı,osmangazide yaşıyorum İzmir Metro dergisinde gördüm Oy vereyim dedim yinede ilk 3 e gireriz İzmir Güzel şehir kumsalları plajı Parkları Güzel Bakım Görüyor Her Ay etkinlikler var Bana ulaşırsanız veya mesaj atarsanız sevinirim İyi Şanslar... İzmir Sizinle (By

Comment: I want to vote for my mayor. Izmir is one of the most beautiful cities in the World and that’s because of his Works. Of course he made us sometimes angry with the attitude but we love him in our hearts. We believe even he does wrong he will turn back from it.  So my vote is for Mayor of Izmir, Aziz Kocaoglu….(By Hülya O, Izmir)

Comment: I travel in Turkey very often and visit and stay in most cities. I feel most comfort in Izmir by means of transportation, traffic, sanitary etc. Thank you very much Aziz Kocaoglu. (By Sadun Y)

Comment: Aziz Kocaoglu is a really trustful and honest mayor and also he has a good vision about our city. I wish he'll be best mayor on the world. (By Berk I, Izmir)

Comment: I support Aziz Kocaoglu as a worldmayor. Because he is very polite, honest, environmentalist and sensitive person. Also , I support his below application for İzmir.
• Milk Project” : The fresh milk has been delivered to the kids (which is between 0 and 5 years old) every month
• He said that the seasides belong to people who live in İzmir and has not permit any concrete construction in the seaside.
• He improved many application for disabled people in İzmir.
• He support and improve the social projects in İzmir
• The subway system has been reaach to the wide area in İzmir.
• The people can get on the public transportation vehicles(whatever they prefer such as subway, bus, ship) limitlessly in 90 minutes. (By Özgül Ş, Izmir)

Comment: I support Aziz Kocaoglu and vote for him. He has never given up working hard for Izmir although he could have not gotten support from the government (opposite site).
Now credibility level of Izmir is higher than Turkey with his efforts. (By Kazim K, Izmir)
Comment: Çok başarılı işlere imza attı bunlardan birkaçı; Büyük Körfez’ projesi. Kardeş Aile, Abla-Ağabey- Kardeş, Gençler ve Yaşlılar El ele projesi Metro sisteminin genişletilmesi Atık yönetimindeki iyileştirmeler . İzmir kenti, Türkiye’deki en yüksek atık su arıtma kapasitesine sahip ve bu sular, Avrupa Birliği standartlarını karşılayan tesislerde işleniyor. (By Selin C, Izmir)

Comment: Dear Officer, I prefer Mr. Aziz Kocaoğlu because he is a brilliant mayor. He changed Izmir. 10 years ago my hometown Izmir is a regular aegean port city but now Izmir is a more than. In Turkey most of cities changed very rougly in last 12 years. I live in Istanbul since 2009 and now ı wanna go back to Izmir. Because Istanbul and other big cities in Turkey wore. Lost of people, transport plans care just cars, hisrotical places eroded. At the same time Izmir and Kocaoğlu just thought people of Izmir and Izmir history. You cannot see any shoping mall city centre in İzmir. Still you can shooping old bazaar. He remade a connection with sea and people of Izmir. He a excellent mayor. I am sorry that ı dont vote him. Maybe next election ı will be in İzmir for live. (By Günel C, Istanbul)

Comment: Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu deserves the World Mayor Prize. I have witnessed his hard work and dedication to serve his citizens in İzmir. I believe that his passion to public services such as health care programs for elders and any other citizens in need of nursing, scholarship grants for youth, improvement of local transportation such as us highways and subway has very much contributed to the development of the city. These are only some of the accomplishments of our mayor has been gaining for the good of his citizens for 10 years. Thereby I would like to see his dedication will be rewarded in the context of this prize. (By Ece O, Izmir)

Comment: Aziz Kocaoglunun guzel ve yasanabilir bir kent haline getirdigi Izmırde yasayan bir hemsehrisi olarak, kente kattığı degerlerden dolayı, benim oyum her zaman onadır cunku; 0-5 yas arasındaki devlet okulunda okuyan 130 bin ogrenci cocuga her hafta 2 litre sut dagıtılmasını saglayan Sut Kuzusu Projesi, yaslı ve engelli dostu uygulamalar ve cevre yatırımları, kadın hakları konusundaki duyarlılıgı, metro sisteminin devlet destegi olmadan genisletilmesi ve tamamlanması ve atık yonetimindeki yatırımları ve iyilestirmeleri, Denize akan tum derelerin ıslah edilerek, iyileştirilmesi, Avrupa Birligi standartlarını karsılayan Turkiyedeki en yuksek su arıtma kapasitesine sahip arıtma tesisini kurması, tum belediye toplu tasıma araclarının klimalı olan araclarla yenilenmesi, Bostanlı, Karsıyaka, Alsancak,Goztepe, Uckuyular sahil bandı agaclandırma, park ve bahce duzenlemeleri, kenti yesillendirme calısmaları, Bostanlı, Karsıyaka, Alsancak, Goztepe, Uckuyular sahil bandı bisiklet ve yaya yuruyus yolları uygulamaları, yassıcaadaya haftaici ve hafta sonu tekne gezisi uygulamaları, Tiyatrolara, Kulturel ve Sanatsal etkinliklere verdiği destek ve yardımlar, Adnan Saygun Kultur Sanat Merkezi yapımı, Izmirin tanıtımı için cok onemli olan İzmir Uluslararası Fuarına hic eksilmeyen yardımı ve destegi, Alsancak Havagazı Fabrikası eski binaları ve bahceleri restore edilerek, izmir buyuksehir belediyesi sponsorluğu ile ucretsiz acıkhava halk konserleri duzenlenmesi, izmirdeki tum okul binalarının tadilat yapılarak ve boyanarak yenilenmesi ve daha aklıma gelmeyen kenti guzellestirmeye ve yasamaya deger bir kent haline getirmeye yonelik onlarca uygulaması sebebiyle. (By Okan T, Izmir)

Comment: I've been living in Izmir for 23 years. I was born in Istanbul, but I proudly consider myself a local Izmir person since I love being in this city, living in this city, and breathing in this city. Yes, I can breathe here. I can feel the breezes coming from the beautiful gulf of Izmir; take long walks along the seaside in Karşıyaka, Bostanlı, Alsancak, Güzelyalı, Güzelbahçe; sit on the green grass of Kordon and have the funniest and the most quality time with my friends; most of all, as a woman, I can feel free here in this city. In the middle of the night, I know I can simply take the night bus working till the morning and arrive home safely. In Turkey, these above-mentioned features are so hard to find that we the citizens of Izmir call ourselves "the lucky minority" of Turkey. We owe Aziz Kocaoglu a lot. For the things he made possible and for the things he did not let happen in our city's environment. If we can still breathe here, we definitely should thank Kocaoglu for this. Despite the financial blockage of the central government and the related ministries, Kocaoglu always finds a way to make beautiful things happen in Izmir. That is why, nobody more than him deserves this honour. Thank you. (By Perin Ç, Izmir)

Comment: Buyuk Baskan Aziz Kocaoglu basta durustlugu ve hizmetleri olmak uzere Izmirlinin gonlunde taht kurmustur. Korfez temizliginden alt gecitlere, metro istasyonlarından buyuk kent ormanlarına kadar koy kent demeden 30 ilcenin her yanına hizmet goturmeyi kendine gorev bilmistir. Kent icindeki hizmetlerini surdururken koylerdeki ureticilere sonuna kadar destek olup, kan aglayan ureticiyi kalkındırmayı basarmistir. Turkiye'nin en uzun rayli sistem hatti ve kamu eliyle yapilan ilk tam otomatik katli otoparkini hizmete gecirmistir. Yapimi suren fuar alani Turkiye'nin en buyugu olacaktir. Ulasim sistemini ve otobusleri cagimiz sartlarina tasiyan, gecekondularin yerine orman yapan Aziz Kocaoglu hukumet tarafindan engellenmektedir. Bu baskilar altinda bunca is basaran Buyuk Baskan 3 kez İzmir halkinin takdiriyle baskan secilmistir. İzmir'i halk ile birlikte yoneten, halkın isteklerini bilen Aziz Kocaoglu tum engellemelere ragmen 'Kentler Ona Sahip Cikanlarındir' diyerek hizmetlerini surdurecek, İzmir halki da 'İzmir Azizdir Aziz Kalacak' diyerek ona desteğini verecektir. (By Yiğit K, Izmir)

Comment: I am Bade. I am 22 years old and studying at Ege University. I'm living in İzmir since 1996 and proud of that. Because İzmir is a gorgeous city. İzmir's people are so kind, nice and friendly. But just people's nice properties are not enough to be a beautiful city. Our major Aziz Kocaoglu is so hardworker and honest. He have done a lot of beautiful and useful things to our city for us and he is keep going to do and going to do. I am supporting our major Aziz Kocaoglu. (By Bade K, Izmir)

Comment: İzmir Metropolitan Municipality (İMM) could have sold the historical buildings and fields which are placed in the city center such as Historical Air Gas Factory, Former Trolleybus Warehouse for millions and taken a lot of financial support out of it. However, İMM instead of selling it, has build art centers in those historical pleaces for the benefit of the society. (By Şükrü Y, Izmir)

Comment: As a citizen of Izmir city I'd like to vote for Mr. Kocaoglu in 2014 World Mayor Prize. He is at the beginning of third period of his mayorship and during this time he completed very important infrastructure investments in Izmir. His financial management was very well that, he paid the debts of the Mucipality, which were very high and preventing it from investments. As a result of this he increased the credibility score of the Municipality, which is higher than the credibility score of the country. I think he defined a good vision for the city and he will complete his visionary projects in his third period. (By H I M C, Izmir)

Comment: This prize is a chance for us to courage Mr. Kocaoglu for more project implementations. I have been living in for 7 years and I am so greatful for his new landscaping, highways, green areas implementations. That is why I am supporting him for this competition. I think he should be the winner. I am assuming that you are also aware of the fact that, Turkish political system is unequal and they do not support Mr. Kocaoglu projects and beside this they also put obstacles. Regardless, he is able to put in action his projects. That is why I am supporting him and that is why he should be the winner. (By Tolga K, Izmir)

Comment: Mayor Kocaoglu should win the World Mayor 2014 competition because he should not only be awarded locally, but also internationally for his accomplishments. He is such a leader that possesses a respectable bureaucratic identity along with a “man of the people” attitude. You can always approach him on the street and easily talk to him. This is his third presidential period and the city’s silhouette changed drastically during these years. Now we have a more attractive coastal line, bicycle roads, a natural life park that competes with the world’s most leading ones, culture and arts centers etc. He is very hardworking and also has many promising future projects. Finally, he is truly honest and I know that he doesn’t and will never use any of the public or municipal resources for his own benefit and will always work for the sake of the citizens of Izmir. (By S S, Izmir)

Comment: I have travelled many times in Turkey. It is a country very close to my heart; however, one can’t but notice the changes over these past few years. In a land where once Ataturk’s legacy held egocentrism at bay, in that same country that is currently slowly - but steadily – slipping away from true democracy towards instability, uncertainty and decay of moral political values, only few have been able to withstand the enforcement of an anti-secularist paradigm and maintain the idea that values modernism, education, equality and innovatory progress above all else.

Izmir has remained an islet of liberalism and enlightenment, and Aziz Kocaoglu performs his duties as burgomaster with humility and dignity, never straying from his truths, never betraying his ideals, never allowing the separation that has taken a hold on the rest of the country to influence his duties as “Father” to all of Izmir’s civilians. One can only applaud such behavior, and I wholeheartedly believe that someone as dedicated to his city as Kocaoglu can stand as an example for future generations. That’s why I think it is very important to highlight the exceptional work this man has done for his people. That’s why I vote for Aziz Kocaoglu as “World mayor 2014”. (By M M, Belgium)

Comment: Izmir is a very special city to live and it deserves to be administrated well. Mayor Kocaoglu knows how to manage this city. He wants to make I˙zmir a brand city. Today, we see more tourist on the streets of Izmir. Even they are surprised by the modernity and charm of I˙zmir. There are more clean beaches, more green spaces and colourfull festivals eversince Mr. Kocaoglu became the Mayor of I˙zmir. As a young person living in this city, such factors are very important for me. I love his progressive mind. (By S B, Izmir)

Comment: I support Mr. Aziz Kocaoglu for the 2014 World Mayor Prize due to his humanistic approach and relentless commitment to the values of diversity, sustainability and modernisation. 

Despite adminstering with little suport in a country where the ruling government has little transparency and a high level of corruption, Izmir (IBB) as one of Turkey's few opposition CHP party municipalities, thrives as a vibrant city under Azız Kocaoğlu's leadership.

Always forward thinking, Mayor Kocaoglu has been behind the best and most sustainable public transport network in Turkey, consisting of light rail, subway, ferry and substantial bus and bicycle networks. Public transport is also made affordable for all with free transfers within 90min of travel (making it possible to travel from one end of this large city to the other for less than 2 liras) and special benefits for the elderly, students and teachers.

Aziz Kocaoglu has also been instrumental in creating a wheelchair friendly city, implementing the pioneering 'Engelsiz Izmir' project engaging social and development policies to improve life for the disabled population of Izmir. Metro stations charge contain charge areas for electronic wheelchairs and most of the pavements of Izmir have tactile paving to ease mobility of the blind. Aziz Kocaoglu's Municipality gives priority to supporting people in need, an example being the 98,000 children who benefit from his 'Süt Kuzusu' project - where 2litres of milk is delivered to their homes on a weekly basis.

As a foreign citizen in Izmir I feel comfortable and happy due to the accepting, tolerant and modern nature of the people of the city. Indicative of this celebration of diversity, Izmir Metropolitain Municipality is enagaged in a number of European Union projects and very welcoming to people of all cultures, For excellence in this field, Aziz Kocaoglu's Municipality has been awared the prestigious 2014 'Plaque of Honour' by the Council of Europe.

Aziz Kocaog˘lu's administration supports minority rights. With a number of his highest officials being female, Aziz Kocaoglu's council is an example of the egalitaraian potential of secular Turkey. Mayor Kocaoglu is also supportive of the democratic process, with his Council Parliament meetings being streamed live for public participation and has himself participated in protests in Izmir with minority groups that have otherwise been persecuted by the Government.

This email just brushes the surface of a few reaons why I believe Mr Aziz Kocaoglu should be awarded the 2014 World Mayor prize. He is an exceptional leader and highly beneficial to his city and the wider region. It would be fitting that Mr Kocaoglu receive this award in recognition of his 10 years of fine service to his city. (By Anna W, Izmir)

Comment: I will support Aziz Kocaog˘lu because his works are very important. Aziz Kocaog˘lu has been a reformist leader. He always try to change old system and improve new transportation system though huge subway.He always give importance arts and culture, he opens new cultral center. He give importance new fairground and he try to build by own municipal facilitates. He promote the use of bicycles. Also, he care about urban transformation though municipal resource. He produce lots of projects about environment, disability rights, women right, transportation, water treatment, also education (brother and sister project). (By Ozge T, Izmir)

Comment: I support Mr. Aziz Kocaog˘lu in 2014 World Mayor Prize especially because of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality's (IMM) continuous and significant efforts in environmental sustainability. 

Izmir is the pioneer city in Turkey in waste water treatment. Turkish Statistical Institute's data show that Izmir, representing 5% of Turkey’s population, treats 25% of Turkey’s waste water thanks to Mr. Kocaoglu's investments since 2004 in making Izmir a liveable place for all. Also below examples could be given as IMM’s recent sustainable environmental development projects: 

Great Gulf Project aiming to treat and improve Izmir’s Gulf, Great Channel Project aiming to protect ecological balance, Solar Sludge Digestion and Drying Facilities, generation and distribution of natural geothermal energy as an alternative source, separation of rain water and domestic waste project, promotion of organic agriculture with agricultural education project, establishment of Turkey’s first organic certificate bazaar, compost-soil-leaf analysis labs, improvement of drinkable water network, recycling projects, Smart Transportation Projects (15 new environmental ferries in Izmir Gulf, bicycle roads and municipal rental bicycles project, enlargement of the rail system network, environmental tram project). 

I hope Mr. Aziz Kocaoğlu wins this prestigious award that he well-deserves. (By Sehan T, Izmir)

Comment: He is so smart and creative. He values culture and art. Public transportation is very important for him and the city. Additionally, he put so much effort to improve the city's subway lines. He always tries to understand what the people want and need. Encourages the youth and aims at a more beautiful city. (By Muge G, Izmir)

Comment: I nominate Mayor Aziz Kocaoglu of I˙zmir city due to the fact that his focus vision and determination with his social programs reaching impact on the lives of citizens of I˙zmir. He took Izmir to new heights by promoting it as an ideal city for tourism, trade and investments as well. In addition to this, he has modernized the infrastructure in the city as roads, bridges, historical buildings and other constructions too. I believe that he will be the ideal candidate of world mayors in the international platform. (By Cansu O, Izmir)


World Mayor

The philanthropic City Mayors Foundation awards the World Mayor Prize every two years to a mayor who has made outstanding contributions to his / her community and has developed a vision for urban living and working that is relevant to towns and cities across the world. The Prize has been awarded since 2004.

Anyone voting for a mayor is also asked to consider whether his / her candidate is likely to agree to the City Mayors Code of Ethics. Mayors wishing to be considered for the World Mayor Prize will be asked to sign up to the Code.

Votes must be accompanied by a thoughtful supporting statement.

2014/15 Timetable
First-round nominations were accepted until the middle of May 2014. A longlist of 121 candidates was published on 22 May. A shortlist of 26 nominees was announced on 18 June 2014. A second round of voting will take place between now and the middle of October. The winner of the 2014 World Mayor Prize and other results of the World Mayor Project were announced on 3 February 2015.

The philanthropic City Mayors Foundation, the international think tank on urban affairs, organises the World Mayor Project and awards the World Mayor Prize. The Prize, which has been given since 2004, honours mayors with the vision, passion and skills to make their cities incredible places to live in, work in and visit. The World Mayor Project aims to show what outstanding mayors can achieve and raise their profiles nationally and internationally.

The organisers of the World Mayor Project are looking for city leaders who excel in qualities like: leadership and vision, management abilities and integrity, social and economic awareness, ability to provide security and to protect the environment as well as the will and ability to foster good relations between communities from different cultural, racial and social backgrounds. Mayors wishing to be considered for the World Mayor Prize will be asked to sign up to the City Mayors Code of Ethics.

The winner receives the artistically acclaimed World Mayor trophy, while the runner-up is given the World Mayor Commendation.

Winners and runners-up
2004 to 2014

In 2014: Winner: Naheed Nenshi (Calgary, Canada); First runner-up: Daniël Termont (Ghent, Belgium); Second runner-up: Tri Rismaharini (Surabaya, Indonesia)

In 2012: Winner: Iñaki Azkuna (Bilbao, Spain); Runner-up: Lisa Scaffidi (Perth, Australia); In third place: Joko Widodo (Surakarta, Indonesia)

In 2010: Winner: Marcelo Ebrard (Mexico City, Mexico); Runner-up: Mick Cornett (Oklahoma City, USA); In third place: Domenico Lucano (Riace, Italy)

In 2008: Winner: Helen Zille (Cape Town, South Africa); Runner up: Elmar Ledergerber (Zurich, Switzerland); In third place: Leopoldo López (Chacao, Venezuela)

In 2006: Winner: John So (Melbourne, Australia); Runner up: Job Cohen (Amsterdam, Netherland); In third place: Stephen Reed (Harrisburg, USA)

In 2005: Winner: Dora Bakoyannis (Athens, Greece); Runner-up: Hazel McCallion (Mississauga, Canada); In third place: Alvaro Arzú (Guatemala City, Guatemala)

In 2004: Winner: Edi Rama (Tirana, Albania); Runner-up: Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Mexico City, Mexico); In third place: Walter Veltroni (Rome, Italy)