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NEWS What is CHANNEL ISTANBUL and why is it important for other countries as well as Turkey?

29 Oct 2019

KANAL ISTANBUL (Channel Istanbul) is an artificial waterway which Turkey plans to build an alternative passage between the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea in order to ease the ship traffic in the Bosporus. It will come to life on the European side of the city and a new city will be built at the point where the channel meets the Marmara Sea.

“Kanal Istanbul”, with its official name, will come to life on the European side of the city. It will serve as an artificial waterway between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea in order to ease the ship traffic in the Bosporus, which is an alternative passage between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. At the point where the channel meets the Sea of Marmara, one of the two new cities to be established by 2023 will be established.

The length and width of the channel is expected to be 45 km and 145-150 m respectively with a depth of 25 m. After the channel is put into service the Bosporus will be completely closed to tanker. The project will also be linked to railways and 3rd airport.

There has been a long lasting debate as to the necessity of the channel, its cost and impact on the environment. The administration has voiced and defended its view that is a requirement for Istanbul as follows:

The number of ships passing through the Bosporus has increased every year, in parallel with the increase in economic activities in the world. The Bosporus, which has an average of 50 thousand ships per year, is a natural waterway with the narrowest point of 698 meters and commercial vessels cross the Bosporus under the Montreux Straits Convention. However, in the 1930s when the Montreux Convention was signed, the number of ships passing through the Turkish Straits was around 3,000 per year, but today the increase in vessel traffic as well as dimensions as a result of technological developments, and especially the increase of shipments carrying fuel and other dangerous / toxic substances have created great pressure and threat on the city of Istanbul, making it necessary to plan an alternative transit route to the Bosporus.

Considering the developments in the world and regional countries, it is estimated that the traffic load of the Bosporus, which is currently in the order of 50 thousand, will reach 86,000 in the 2070s.

Ensuring security of the Bosporus is equally important for all countries that use the Turkish Straits as it is for Turkey.

The planned project aims to minimize the ship traffic that threatens life and cultural assets at the Bosporus and to provide alternative access to vessels exposed to heavy traffic at both entrances.

It is estimated that approximately 10 thousand people will work in the construction phase of the channel. Following are planned to be realized within the project; emergency connecting areas in the channel, entrance and exit structures, infrastructure and superstructures such as ship traffic systems, ports, logistics center, marina, coastal structures that will provide transportation across the channel, fortification and filling at points needed.

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