United Cities and Local Governments Middle East and West Asia Section (UCLG-MEWA) organized an online live event as part of its Local Government Talks with Yücel Yılmaz, Mayor of Balıkesir and UCLG-MEWA Co-President, on August 18, 2020. During the event, which is part of an event series entitled “The Role of Municipalities in the Fight Against COVID-19 and Normalization Process,” Mayor Yılmaz started his remarks by touching upon the activities of Balıkesir Metropolitan Municipality during the pandemic and thanked the people of Balıkesir for strictly following the measures taken by the authorities.
During his speech, Yılmaz also talked about the issue of geothermal resources and stated that in some districts of Balıkesir such as Edremit, Bigadiç, and Sindırgı, they use geothermal heating methods. He further also added that the municipality had established an Organized Greenhouse Cultivation Thermal Zone in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Turkey. Mayor Yılmaz also pointed out that they had established a Training Center for Farmers (BAÇEM) in Balıkesir and built seed depots to store seeds of endemic plants of Balıkesir in dry, concentrated water and original forms. He added that they had cooperated with universities and had offered trainings to farmers by experts in their fields.
Highlighting the importance of citizens’ assemblies in ensuring participatory municipal work, Mayor Yılmaz said that the way to a supra-political management approach begins with citizens’ assemblies. As UCLG-MEWA Co-President, Yılmaz mentioned that UCLG-MEWA had carried out an important mission for facilitating the exchange of experiences during the pandemic, and drew attention to the success of the UCLG World Organization. He ended his speech by inviting all mayors to join the network of UCLG-MEWA.