Dikili mayor Osman Özgüven and 14 other members of the municipal council were at the 1st Court of First Instance of Dikili yesterday (June 3), facing the charges of “misconduct in office” or “abuse of power.”
The reason behind the accusations Osman Özgüven, the mayor of a small town in İzmir province in western Turkey, is facing are the services he provides for his town, foremost among them is the free water.
During his tenure Dikili Mayor Osman Özgüven from the Social Democrat People's Party (SHP) made public buses free, obliged bus drivers to drop students off at their homes, provided affordable health services at a municipal clinic, sold bread in municipal bakeries at low prices and did not charge households that use less than 10 tons of water a month.
In addition to the people of Dikili, representatives from many political parties and institutions were there to support the mayor.
Defending his position at the court, the mayor said that as one of the measures in helping prevent global warming, they did not charge people any water fee up to 10 tons and they charged the whole amount above this limit.
“We saved lots of water with this method.”To encourage people, said Mayor Özgüven, they granted pardon for the interest payments of the water fees remained from the past administration. About municipality workers’ 50% water fee discount, he said “We wanted those people who are responsible for bringing water to the town to get their creation at lower prices. We did not violate the principle of equality.”
He also added that the municipalities were elected bodies and determination of the rates for their services was their job and that they simply exercised their right.
“The concept of public service is on trial”
His lawyer Arif Ali Cangı said in his client’s defense that municipalities are not businesses.
“Municipality work is a public service. This case is trying the concept of public service.”
After Cangı the other members of the municipal council spoke. The defense lawyers demanded an investigation to determine whether or not the services rendered by Dikili Municipality were municipality services. The court is adjourned for the testimonies of the other members of the municipal court and the completion of the missing parts.
“Our services will continue”
Outside the courthouse, Dikili mayor Osman Özgüven said that their services were going to continue, indicating that municipalities were not businesses, they have been serving the people of Dikili and will continue serving.
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