Turkey begins construction of the Istanbul Canal
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan took part in the solemn ceremony of the beginning of the construction of the Istanbul canal. which will run parallel to the Bosphorus and connect the Black and Marmara seas.
Construction will begin with one of six bridges across the future canal. Erdogan called this a new page in Turkey’s development.
The channel will have a length of 45 km and a minimum width of 275 meters at a depth of 21 meters.
Erdogan recalled that 45 thousand ships a year pass through the Bosphorus today and each such passage poses a threat to the city, since the ships carry different cargo.
“We look at the new project as a project to save the future of Istanbul,” Erdogan said.
At the same time, it will be a key bridge, which is the last part of another mega project already built – the Northern Ring Road of Istanbul, which starts from Silivri district, passes through the new Istanbul airport, continues across the Bosphorus on the newly built third bridge Yavuz Sultan Selim and joins the highway to Ankara. Thus, transit is carried out through Istanbul without having to enter the busy areas of the metropolis.
The Istanbul Canal will be built on the European side of the Turkish metropolis and will be about 45km long, 275m wide and 20.75m deep.
Following Erdogan’s announcement of the project, studies to assess the route of the Istanbul Canal were conducted by various universities in 2011-2013.
In 2013-2014, a preliminary design was prepared after receiving geological and geotechnical data from the drilling works along the route determined for the canal.
Through a study of the experience of artificial waterways in the world, a roadmap of research projects was prepared and in 2014-2017, preliminary studies for the research project were conducted.
Detailed field, laboratory studies and an environmental impact assessment report process of the Istanbul Canal were conducted in 2017-2019.
A total of 204 scientists and experts from various universities and institutions have worked on the Istanbul Canal project.
It is also planned to build a marina, container ports, a recreation area and a logistics center as an additional component of the project to the facilities and structures needed for the Istanbul Canal.
The total cost of the project is estimated at 75 billion Turkish lira ($ 8.6 billion) and is expected to be built within the framework of public-private cooperation. During the meeting at which Erdogan announced the project, he also said the project would be funded entirely through national resources.
The project is expected to be completed in seven years, with about a year and a half of preparatory work and five and a half years of construction.
Six bridges will be built over the Istanbul Canal, which will turn Istanbul into a city with two seas.
New residential areas with more than 250,000 apartments are planned to be built on both sides of the Istanbul Canal.
ECOLOGISTS: FOR AND AGAINST
Turkish environmentalists have long been sounding the alarm because the ships that pass through the Bosphorus pollute the environment, “poison” the lives of residents of the 16 millionth (according to official data) and 20 millionth (according to unofficial data) megalopolis. And the natural channel itself grows shallow, including not withstanding the load. In addition, in the event of an accident and an oil spill during the passage of oil tankers along the Bosphorus, this could have catastrophic consequences for an already disturbed ecosystem. And if we add to this the dissatisfaction of the ship owners themselves with the need to wait, sometimes for weeks, in line to pass through the Bosphorus, then the construction of an artificial canal could become a very profitable alternative for everyone. But here again the ecologists were the first to say their word (“Uluslararası politika açısından Kanal İstanbul: 310 milyon insan için bir risk”). They are convinced that an intervention of this magnitude, namely the confluence of the waters of the Marmara and the Black Seas, may have even larger negative consequences than the excessive use of the Bosphorus. We are talking about an increase in the level of hydrogen sulfide in the Sea of Marmara after its merger with the Black Sea, which can lead to the death of some representatives of flora and fauna, and also threatens an unpleasant smell from the channel.
Another – the transformation of the historical center and business districts of the European part of Istanbul into an island, according to experts, also poses a threat not only to nature, but also to the historical and archaeological attractions that this region is rich in.