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NEWS Turkey's 'Crazy' Canal Project Revealed

24 Jan 2018

Property experts believe the new multi-billion dollar Kanal Istanbul project linking the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara will help tap reserves of fresh land for construction.

Just as the new Third International Airport coming on stream in Istanbul has helped to re-invigorate the surrounding areas, so it is being hoped the eventual route of the 45-kilometre canal will help regenerate the affected areas.

The project, dubbed light-heartedly by President Tayyip Erdogan’s as 'crazy', will aim to relieve pressure on the busy shipping lanes of the Bosphorus Strait.

Transport Minister Ahmet Arslan unveiled the government's preferred route which is expected to begin in the Durusu region of the Black Sea and finish in Kucukcekmece Lake on the Sea of Marmara between Esenyurt and Avcilar.

The route passes through the Sazlıdere Dam and reaches the Black Sea east of the Terkos Dam.

The canal, scheduled to be completed in 2023, is planned to be 25 metres deep and up to 1,000 meters wide. It will take 160 vessels a day.

Expected to become Turkey's most expensive construction project, Turkey will be able to charge access to the waterway rather than allow free passage under the Montreux Conventions Regarding the Use of Straits.

The Bosphorus is the busiest waterway on the planet, with more than 42,000 vessels transiting through the Straits annually, in contrast to 16,000 through Egypt's Suez Canal.

Environment concerns

The project does not come without its critics, who point to the potential environmental impact on the Black Sea.

Apart from driving more construction north of Istanbul, the city's Chamber of Geology Engineers reports that there could be changes to the climate balance in the region and affect both the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara.

Villagers living along the route said that huge swathes of land had been snapped up by private concerns as well as Arab investors.

“I am both excited but also saddened by Canal Istanbul. We were very happy with our tranquil village life. Now I am wondering what we will do if those enormous buildings also show up here, commented Güngör Özer, the head of Dursunköy Village, which lies close to the Canal Istanbul route.


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