“As Mayor of the city of Gaziantep; I am committed to social development and inclusive growth, improving social welfare and fighting against inequality, with a participatory management approach that leaves no one behind. As a Champion Mayor, I strongly support the Champion Mayors coalition, which plays a key role in the creation and dissemination of excellent solutions by evaluating different perspectives in solving common and similar needs and problems of our cities and communities.”
– Mayor Fatma Şahin
Elected as Mayor of Gaziantep in 2014, and re-elected in 2019, Fatma Şahin is the city’s first female mayor. Ms Şahin is also Chair of the Asian Mayors Forum (AMF) and Union of Municipalities of Turkey. From 2016 – 2019, she was President of the United Cities and Local Governments – Middle East and West Africa Section (UCLG-MEWA), and Vice-President of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR). From 2011, Ms Şahin served as a Minister at the Turkish Cabinet. In 2002 she was a parliamentarian in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, and member of the Turkish-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission. Ms Şahin holds a BSc degree in Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering from Istanbul Technical University.
Gaziantep is a city hosting more than half a million refugees. Seeking to create ‘a city for everyone’, the city developed the ‘Gaziantep model’, a local refugee response that involves cooperation with central government, local authorities, UN agencies, NGOs and INGOs, to provide direct support to refugees and ease the integration process with the host community. The city of Gaziantep takes a comprehensive approach to migrant integration to ensure refugees can fully engage with their host society from a socio-economic, political, and cultural perspective. The city’s migration policy has a humanitarian approach and focuses on a conflict-sensitive strategy to mitigate tension. Using this policy, the city aims to ensure the welfare of refugees and host communities following the strong belief that improving the welfare of the disadvantaged will enhance the welfare of society as a whole.
Gaziantep has a Climate Change Action Plan, and aims to be the first city in Turkey to use energy from 100% renewable sources by 2022. The city’s Solarpark project, has established three solar power plants. When a planned fourth plant is built, the city’s combined solar parks are expected to generate enough electricity to meet the energy needs of the municipality. A biogas energy plant, mechanical biological treatment facilities, and a wind power plant are also planned. The city’s focus on climate change action, and projects designed to make the city more sustainable have attracted awards including 1st place in the Carbon and Energy Management Category of the Sustainable Business Awards 2017, and the Low Carbon Hero of the Year 2018 with the Environmentally Friendly Green Public Building Project.
Gaziantep is using smart city initiatives to improve quality of life for residents. The city has its own social media network ‘Benim Şehrim’ (My City), a Data Coordination Centre providing data about city infrastructure, transportation, investment, culture and art that can be used to plan improvements to city services, and GIKOM, a citizen feedback database that coordinates requests and input provided by the community, in order to process information more quickly and efficiently.
Gaziantep ensures the integration of people with disabilities in society via the Unobstructed Life Centre (ULC), which was founded in 2019. The centre provides training and psycho-social support to children and adults under 40 years-old with special needs, and their families. Services are provided to more than 1050 individuals. The centre also offers rehabilitation opportunities to individuals with special needs in different support training halls, following guidance from the hospital and counselling research centre. The ULC aims to provide support training to improve self-sufficiency in individuals.