Ümraniye, one of the most crowded districts of Istanbul, has made a name for itself with the services it has provided to its residents in recent years. Explaining that they put people at the center of all the projects they have implemented, Ümraniye Mayor İsmet Yıldırım said, “In our understanding of a municipality, it is not enough to bring new works to our city alone, we are also a group that has made it a principle to win the hearts of our residents. I can confidently say that the Ümraniye Municipality is an exemplary institution of social municipality.” Yıldırım, who has been the Mayor of Ümraniye since 2019, continues by saying, “We are taking firm steps towards our goal of making Ümraniye ‘Türkiye’s favorite district’ with the projects we have implemented.”

Regarding Ant Yapı, he says: “It is a reputable company that has achieved great success in many countries, especially in Türkiye. Of course, it is a great success to achieve this experience in just 30 years”.  We talked with İsmet Yıldırım about everything from the rising trends in the world in terms of urbanity to the projects that will be implemented in the district in the upcoming period, from personal goals to sports habits.

We would like to get to know you better. We know your resume, but how do your family and friends describe you?

I am originally from Büyükköy. I was born in Istanbul in 1960 and have been here ever since. I graduated from Yıldız Technical University, Department of Civil Engineering in 1982 and later, I worked as a contractor and consultant in the family business. In addition to being a member of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce Assembly and Chairman of the Construction Contractors Committee, I also held managerial positions in many foundations and associations. In 1999, I was appointed as the General Manager of Kiptaş. I am currently serving as the Mayor of Ümraniye. My relatives and friends describe me as a disciplined, hardworking, friendly and communicative, and an animal lover. I am a perfectionist therefore I want things to be done in the best way and with quality. I care about time because time is the most precious thing. I am a disciplined person who works hard and pays attention to his work.

Can you tell us about your family? What do you do together?

I’m married with two children. I have the best thing in the world, I’m the father of two daughters and in this respect, I feel very lucky and thank God. I have been working at an intense pace since the day I started my career. At this point, we are working hard day and night to serve our country. I spend time with my family whenever I can in this delightful hustle and I try to have a good time when I get together with my children and my wife, like every father does. My main hobby is sports, I care a lot about sports and I like to  walk.

You’re working at a pretty intense pace. How do you spend your day? Do you have any habits that you do every day no matter what?

I start the day with sports. Since I work at an intense pace, doing sports keeps me energetic all day long. I start my work by coming into the office early in the morning. My daily schedule is organized by my personal secretary, and I carry out many functions during the day, both inside and outside the offices. Success in the municipality relies on working with a good team. Thanks to them including the Vice President, the Manager, the Chief and Staff, we work with great dedication regardless of the concept of the official ‘work hours’.

I care about time because time is the most precious thing. I am a disciplined person who works hard and pays attention to his work.

Ümraniye Municipality is one of the exemplary municipalities from an urbanization perspective. What do you prioritize in this regard?

Ümraniye has become one of the most crowded districts of Istanbul. Since the day we took office, we developed a new vision for Ümraniye with our knowledge and experience, and we continue to do so. We are taking firm steps towards our goal of making Ümrani̇ye ‘A Favorite District of Türkiye’. We continue our work for this district in every area of Ümraniye. We are implementing services and projects that will add value to our district, pave the way for modern urbanization and make life easier. As the Mayor of this district, me and my team have been working day and night for a livable Ümraniye since the day we took office. In order to appeal to people’s hearts, with our experience and knowledge, we are making projects worthy of our Ümraniye and putting them into service one by one.

What are the important points you pay attention to with the construction in the region?

Building is an area that directly serves people and where they spend almost all of their lives. Structure and people are intertwined at home, at work, in social life and more. For this reason, of course, the most important issue is security. As you know, our city is located in an earthquake zone, by keeping this fact at the center, we attach great importance to the compliance of the structures with the legislation. All buildings in our district are built on the basis of the zoning plans in force, and we do not tolerate any illegal construction. There are also measures to be taken throughout the construction. We are very sensitive to both occupational safety and environmental disruptions during the construction process. Another important issue is aesthetics. Every city has its own unique example we believe that all kinds of buildings that we construct in our district should be suitable for the natural appearance of our city and have a certain aesthetic value.

Do you have any new projects as a municipality?

We have prepared prestigious projects that will improve Ümraniye and that will make it even more valuable. We will build a large sports village in the Hekimbaşı neighborhood. This will be a facility desired by all of Türkiye. We opened the Ümraniye Nation Garden, which is currently in operation, shortly after we took office, and we will open three more national gardens. With these facilities, we will create a natural area within the city for our residents. In the meantime, we opened four indoor swimming pools at different points in our district. At the moment, we have two square arrangements that we have completed the projects for. We will demolish the mosques in Sondurak and Santral and build new mosques with parking lots and squares. Hopefully, we will complete them quickly and make them available to our residents. Another service that our district needs are closed market areas. We have started one now, and we are putting it into service very soon, the remaining three markets will be completed in the near future. We are also building a ‘Millet Kıraathanesi’ for Ümraniye. This facility, located in the municipal garden, will turn into a place of great interest when completed. We are a municipality that cares greatly about education, sports, and culture. We believe that establishment is an important issue and we will continue to work on the implementation of the projects for all kinds of facilities that our district needs.

Ant Yapı is a reputable company that has achieved great success in many countries, especially in Türkiye and abroad.

In your speeches, you refer to the importance of a municipality with an understanding that targets the hearts. Could you tell us a little bit about your work in this context?

In our municipalities understanding, it is not enough to bring new works to our city. We are also a movement that has made it a principle to win our residents’ hearts. We have a motto for this principle ‘municipality of hearts’ under the leadership of our President. In addition, there was a vision set by our President in 1994 as an example of municipality and based on this vision we work with the principle of social municipality. All the work we do is people oriented. There is no person we have not touched with the services we have implemented in Ümraniye. We try to provide social benefit in all our works, from our facilities to our social aid, from our courses to our cultural studies. On the issue of social aid, it is an individual branch in itself. In our district, we do not let anyone go to bed hungry, we deliver hot food to those who are in need, have no one, are old, and cannot take care of themselves. We do everything with our teams, including house cleaning and personal care and we also contribute to the personal and social development of our residents with the work we do. In particular, we are doing very important work for the young, to whom we entrust our future. I can confidently say that Ümraniye Municipality is an exemplary institution of social municipality. When you look at the trends of urbanization in the world, the world is now far beyond the classical architectural understanding. Buildings and cities are no longer built solely for aesthetic and safety concerns. The development of technology has also affected the orientation in this direction, smart buildings, smart cities are more popular now. The world’s population continues to grow therefore, this approach not only opens the door for us to use our limited resources effectively, but also makes our lives more comfortable and livable. Creating modern and nature-compatible, healthy cities or revising existing cities in this direction is for the benefit of all of us. For example, it is important for cities to be taken over from previous generations, offer a quality lifestyle and be delivered to future generations in a usable way. When we look at the cities that stand out in terms of a smart city concept in the world, we can see that many cities define this concept as a tool to improve the quality of life in cities with all its aspects. Among these aspects, environment, energy, transportation, and economy stand out compared to others. When we look at the metropolises such as Vienna, London, Barcelona, and Amsterdam, which we call smart cities today, we can see that solutions are sought for the needs arising from population growth with the applications provided by technology and city integration.

Can you tell us about your future goals for your municipality?

Without a target, there’s no success. We’ve set ourselves a goal and we will continue to work until we reach our goal. As long as life goes on, so do the targets. If life goes on, then there will be a new goal each day to achieve. Every new day brings us new things, setting long-term goals and making plans well in advance, these are very important. I wanted to be Mayor, serve this city as Mayor. Thankfully, God has given us the opportunity to serve our country. We continue to serve for the time being we do not know what the future will bring, but we will continue to work to ensure the satisfaction of our citizens by changing the face of Ümraniye. We’re moving step by step towards 2023. We have a general election and a local election ahead of us, I hope we will continue to serve again with the favors of our nation.

I can confidently say that the Ümraniye Municipality is an exemplary institution of social municipality.

What are your dreams for yourself?

My greatest wish is to live a healthy and peaceful life with my family and loved ones. The pandemic has shown us that health is everything. I hope this situation comes to end as soon as possible. I have been working as the Mayor of Ümraniye for three years and together with our team, we have provided many important services to our district. I hope we can complete the work we plan to do in the best way possible. I dream of a Türkiye that has successfully achieved its 2023 goals. Hopefully, under the leadership of our President, tomorrow will be much better. Our projects, which we have developed for our citizens of all ages and from all walks of life, will continue in the new period as well. We will continue to work tirelessly to realize the goal of building a happy city with both the excitement and determination of the first day.

As you know, at Ant Yapı we are celebrating our 30th anniversary. At the beginning of the year, we published the 100th issue of our magazine. How would you describe Ant Yapı?

Ant Yapı is a reputable company that has achieved great success in many countries, especially in Türkiye and abroad. Of course, it is a great success to have achieved this experience in just 30 years, I hope that you will continue to do much bigger things and add value to this country by combining young, dynamic structure, experience and quality. I wish success to Ant Yapı and in this regard, I would like to thank EQ magazine, which has been publishing for more than 100 issues, with firm steps on the right path. I wish success to the managers and all employees of your magazine who fulfill this challenging task.

My greatest wish is to live a healthy and peaceful life with my family and loved ones.