Erdogan inaugurates new metrobus line in Istanbul
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday attended a ceremony in Istanbul's Kadikoy district marking the launch of a new Metrobus line connecting the European and Asian sides of the city. Speaking at the ceremony, alongside many top officials and Istanbulites, Erdogan said that Istanbul's Metrobus lines now cover over 40 kilometers, with 31 stops, and that $366 million has been spent to build the lines. The extended line, the third phase of a large project to ease Istanbul's traffic problems, can serve nearly 1 million passengers every day, he added. With the new line, the commute from Avcilar to Sogutlucesme, the terminal points on the European and Asian sides, has been cut in half from two hours to just over one. Plans call for the Metrobus lines, where special commuter buses run in a dedicated traffic lane, to be extended throughout the city. Stressing that Istanbul has to address its traffic problems, Erdogan said, against opposition parties and some media outlets that have criticized ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Istanbul Greater Municipality Mayor Kadir Topbas, "You can imagine the extent of the problems in a city where 600 new cars enter traffic every day. It's easy for those who don't have any responsibility to talk." Erdogan also inaugurated a new hospital building in Istanbul's Avcilar district and touted government efforts to improve healthcare. Erdogan yesterday also addressed thousands at an AK Party local election rally in the Aegean province of Isparta. In his speech, Erdogan accused the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) of not being sincere in its outreach towards religion-oriented voters. Erdogan also reiterated the government's determination to bring all public services to every part of the country without any discrimination. Stating that the AK Party has held 24 rallies across Turkey in its current campaign, ahead of month-end elections, Erdogan said, "We're holding not only rallies but also inaugurating new services for the people."