resident Erdogan in a familiar pose at the controls of a new metro train. (Array)
Turkish President Recep Tay Erdogan was a busy man in March as he toured Istanbul making political speeches in connection with the opening of several metro extensions. 
With elections due on 31 March, Erdogan was keen to claim credit for the expansion for the government rather than the municipality, whose politicians are not of his Justice and Development Party. 
A cascade of new urban rail infrastructure actually started on 28 February, when the 8.3km Kazliçesme–Yenikapi–Sirkeci section of railway, closed in 2013 when the Marmaray metro started operation, was re-opened by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Service uses Marmaray HyundaiRotem EMUs but is numbered U3 to indicate it is a project of the national Ministry of Transport rather than the municipality. 
On 10 March metro line M3 was extended by 8.4km from Kirazil to Bakirköy Sahil. On 16 March line M5 was extended by 6.5km from Çekmeköy to Samandira Merkez. 
On 18 March line M9 was extended by 12km from from Bahariye to Ataköy, while on 19 March line M11 was extended by 8.5km from Kargo Terminali to Arnavutköy, opening up the first part of a second line to the new airport, with free rides until 31 March. 
The city’s rail-based public transport network has now reached 362km, with more to come as the airport line M11 is extended to become a 69km circle. the new airport, opened in 2019, has quickly become one of the busiest in Europe and is the part driver of 162km of new metro opened in the last five years. President Erdogan claimed just 8km of this could be credited to the municipality. 
The first metro line in Istanbul opened in 1989 and, in 2023 the 243.3km system with 158 stations saw 1.36M passengers/day. The latest trains are Chinese built. The city also has six tram lines and four funiculars, in addition to a suburban rail network that links the European and Asian sides of the Bosphorus. 
resident Erdogan in a familiar pose at the controls of a new metro train. (Array
President Erdogan in a familiar pose at the controls of a new metro train. (Array) 
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