Istanbul New Eurobonds Sale Delayed by ‘Politics,’ Mayor Says

A planned sale of Eurobonds by Turkey’s largest city is being held up as authorities wait for government approval, said Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, a key opposition figure.

The application by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality to sell bonds worth about 300 million euros is “in suspension,” Imamoglu told Halk TV on Wednesday. “I’m very sad. Please do not let politics interfere with real work.”

Earlier this month, the city sold $580 million in Eurobonds, atransaction that was more than three times oversubscribed. Those proceeds will be used to construct four metro lines, and the mayor cited the reluctance of state-run banks to lend as a reason to tap global markets.

In the TV interview, Imamoglu urged the government to approve the debt-sale plan, appealing to Treasury and Finance Minister Lutfi Elvan to pay “special attention” to Istanbul. The Treasury didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The tussle is the latest to face the mayor since the opposition wrested control of the city from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party last year in a landslide. In January, he complained that a request for state bank loans to finance subway projects had been rejected, a claim denied by the government. Imamoglu in July appointed a former chief executive of state lender Ziraat as secretary-general in an apparent effort to ease the municipality’s funding crunch.

— With assistance by Firat Kozok

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