New Istanbul mayor to make traffic problem his priority

Updates with comments from social media users

The newly elected opposition mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu, said on Friday that traffic congestion over the Bosporus would be his number one priority, news site Duvar reported.

The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure said on Monday that two lanes of the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, known as the second Bosporus bridge, would be shut from Thursday until Aug. 17 for drainage and resurfacing work.

The announcement was made the day after the city of 15 million people held a rerun of mayoral elections, which the opposition’s İmamoğlu won by almost 800,000 votes.

The 49-year old mayor was officially made mayor on Thursday and set his sights on the heavy traffic on the bridge, one of the three road bridges spanning the Bosporus.

İmamoğlu said there was a traffic problem throughout the city due to repair to the bridges, so the municipality had made it a priority, according to Duvar.

New Istanbul mayor's statement came after many Istanbulites on social media expressed their frustration about congestion in traffic and disruption in public transportation, which they said was more severe than before.

Some social media users said on Twitter that the shutdown of the bridges was made "on purpose" to undermine the newly elected Istanbul mayor.

Some even went further and said the ruling party is "getting a revenge" from Istanbulites for voting for İmamoğlu.

Some analysts have argued that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party will cooperate with İmamoğlu during his tenure as head of Turkey’s biggest city and economic hub, but others say they will seek to undermine the new mayor.