"Why do people fear the AKP? They have nothing to fear. Nothing happened when the Prime Minister was the Mayor of Istanbul Municipality. We became neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia. We can all see it."
Gazanfer Oygur is the director of the AK Party Office in the Baltalimani neighbourhood of Istanbul. The AKP is the only party with an office in Baltalimani.
Like many Anatolian families, his migrated to Istanbul in the 1960s in search for a better life.
"I came to Istanbul in 1974, my parents came in 1968. I stayed in Giresun with my grandparents. I came here when I was 11 years old. When I first came to Istanbul everything was very different than it is now. […]At the beginning, all the buildings were barracks. Only afterwards did people start building proper houses; people who could afford it built concrete buildings, those better off left the gecekondus, bought an apartment and moved somewhere else."
"Initially there was no electricity or water supply in the neighbourhood. We used to carry water from a fountain, a kilometre away. The roads were made of mud. There was no sewer system and no infrastructure at all. With time, the Sariyer Municipality helped us change the neighbourhood."
The living conditions and the infrastructure have improved in recent years.
"We set up this office because first of all we care about our neighbourhood and because of the deficiencies in the infrastructure. The office serves as a place providing services – a coordination point between the municipality and the neighbourhood."