Turkey Plans New Canal for Istanbul

Image Heating up the campaign for the coming parliamentary elections, Turkey’s governing party on Wednesday unveiled a proposal to build a canal parallel to Istanbul’s Bosporus that would be longer than either the Panama or Suez canals.

Details of the plan, which has been speculated about privately in recent months as the “crazy project” of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had been kept under wraps, but on Wednesday it immediately became the centerpiece of his party’s bid for a third term in power.

The pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party, known as the AKP, foresees a 28- to 30-mile canal connecting the Black Sea in the north to the Marmara Sea in the southwest that would be a safer alternative for heavy tanker ships than the natural Bosporus straits, which run through the heart of Istanbul, a city of around 15 million people.

The plan aims to divert ship traffic along the Bosporus that sometimes numbers 149 tankers a day carrying natural gas, crude oil, chemicals and other industrial goods.
Mr. Erdogan suggested that the proposed canal, which would be about 500 feet wide and about 80 feet deep, would create jobs while protecting the natural waterway.

The leading opposition, the Republican People’s Party, or C.H.P., criticized the plan as unoriginal and as one that would benefit construction firms tied to the AKP.

The project “is just an effort to make their supporters rich,” Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the C.H.P. chairman, told the semiofficial Anatolian News Agency.

Polls, however, suggest that Mr. Erdogan’s party is on course to keep its majority in the June 12 elections.

Mr. Erdogan said that planning the canal would take around two years and that construction would be financed by domestic sources as well as foreign investors.Source: New York Times
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07