The Turkish Government is working on a new project these days. According to the Turkish President, the European side of Istanbul may soon find itself transformed into an island. As Hürriyet Daily reports, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reaffirmed his intention to dig a deep canal through the city linking the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. “We are going to launch the Canal Istanbul very soon,” said the Turkish leader, considering that “it is not possible to reduce traffic on the Bosphorus.”
As Mr. Erdoğan stated; “We, therefore, need an alternative seaway project. All the studies have been done, and we will have no problem financing or building this canal,” the Turkish leader concluded, without convincing the opposition press, which questions the argument that the project will relieve traffic on the Bosphorus. An academic specializing in the issue explained in an interview with the online media outlet Gazete Duvar: “We are living in a period when traffic on the Bosphorus is falling, and the number of accidents is also falling. We are not in a crisis, but on the contrary, in a reduction of risks […] This project does not meet a logistical or urbanistic need, it is only a way to open a huge market to the real estate sector in a sector of Istanbul that is still preserved from construction”.
The ambition is to create a canal about 40 kilometers long, 150 meters wide and 25 meters deep, at an estimated cost of more than 11 billion euros. On either side of this canal, the Turkish president imagines building a “new city.”
The main argument is that this artificial strait would ease traffic on the Bosphorus, one of the busiest waterways in the world, with its risks of collision and accidents. The government also talks about creating 10,000 direct jobs, contributing to the growth of the Turkish economy, and strengthening Istanbul’s position as a world center for maritime trade. The Istanbul Canal is presented as a prestigious project, “one of the biggest projects of the century, incomparable to the Panama Canal or the Suez Canal,” Tayyip Erdogan even said.