Istanbul mayor challenges Erdoğan to folk dance contest

Istanbul’s mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu challenged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to a dance-off after the president sparked a row over potential water shortages in Turkey’s main financial hub, Diken news site reported on Wednesday. 

Erdoğan said on Tuesday that Istanbul might face water shortages in the next three months, adding that Imamoğlu should be prepared for the problems ahead. 

“Since you started this horon, you’ll have to solve it,” Erdoğan said, referring to a traditional dance of the Black Sea region characterised by tense, quick movements.

“I do not know any politician that can dance the horon better than me, I hope one day we can dance it together,” İmamoğlu said in response.

The mayor said that Erdoğan had announced that Istanbul had no risks of water shortages until 2040 before local polls this year, but he had found that the situation was quite the opposite after he won the mayoral re-run in June. 

Despite Erdoğan’s assurances, the city now faces possible water shortages after more than three months of low rainfall, İmamoğlu said, adding that his administration has been working on plans to solve the problem. 

Both politicians have roots in Black Sea region. Erdoğan's family migrated to Istanbul from Rize, in the Black Sea region, while İmamoğlu is originally from the northern province of Trabzon.