Erdogan opens Turkey’s first driverless metro line

Supporters wave Turkish national flags during the inauguration ceremony of Turkey's first automated urban metro line on the Asian side of Istanbul. (AFP)
Updated 16 December 2017
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Erdogan opens Turkey’s first driverless metro line

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday opened the country’s first driverless metro line, an eagerly awaited project expected to relieve congestion in a traffic-choked area of Istanbul.
Erdogan is already gearing up for November 2019 legislative and presidential elections and a host of new infrastructure projects are being prepared across the country.
The president, a former mayor of Istanbul, has already presided over an era of transformation for the city since his ruling party came to power in 2002, with a new bridge across the Bosphorus and two tunnels under the iconic strait.
The new metro line connects Uskudar on the Asian side of Istanbul with the residential and business area of Umraniye, also on the Asian side, bringing relief to Istanbul residents who for years have endured sometimes unimaginable traffic.
It will soon be extended by several more stations further out to the east and eventually connect with Istanbul’s far-flung second airport Sabiha Gokcen.
“We are coming closer, step by step, to the goal of ridding Istanbul of vehicle traffic,” Erdogan said before riding on the first journey along the line.
Lashing out at Turkey’s perceived enemies, he added: “The inauguration of this metro is the best response to those who try to push our country into a corner by using the economy as a weapon.”
More new metro lines are expected to be opened in the next years as Erdogan seeks to bolster his image as a politician who can realize his self-proclaimed “crazy projects.”
Other projects also include a massive third airport for Istanbul due to open next year. Further ahead, a bridge across the Dardanelles Straits is planned and, even more ambitiously, a Panama-style artificial shipping canal in Istanbul.


Netanyahu urges rival Gantz to form unity government

Updated 19 September 2019

Netanyahu urges rival Gantz to form unity government

  • Gantz is yet to respond to the approach by Netanyahu
  • The change of strategy reflected Netanyahu’s weakened position

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Thursday on his main rival, former general Benny Gantz, to join him in a broad, governing coalition after Israel’s election ended with no clear winner.
A spokeswoman for Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White party, had no immediate response to the surprise offer from Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party.
The change of strategy reflected Netanyahu’s weakened position after he failed again in Tuesday’s election, which followed an inconclusive ballot in April, to secure a parliamentary majority.
“During the election campaign, I called for the establishment of a right-wing government but to my regret, the election results show that this is impossible,” Netanyahu said.
“Benny, we must set up a broad unity government, as soon as today. The nation expects us, both of us, to demonstrate responsibility and that we pursue cooperation.”
On Wednesday, Gantz said he hoped for a “good, desirable unity government.” But he has also ruled out forming one with a Netanyahu-led Likud, citing looming corruption charges against the prime minister. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.