"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 AK Party Office in the Baltalimani neighbourhood of Istanbul. The AKP is the only party with an office in the neighbourhood.
His family, like many other Anatolian families at that time, 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 from now. […]At the beginning all the buildings were barracks. Only afterwards people started to build proper houses; people who could afford it, built concrete buildings, people in better condition 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, 1 km away from the neighbourhood. The roads were made of mud. There was no sewer system and no infrastructure at all. With the time the Sariyer Municipality helped us to change the neighbourhood."
The living conditions and the infrastructure of Baltalimani have improved in recent years.
"We set up this office because first of all we care about our neighbourhood and because of the deficiencies of the infrastructure. The office serves as a coordination and service providing place between the municipality and the neighbourhood."