Tunnel closed hours after PM’s grand opening

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım led the first procession of vehicles along the Sabuncubeli Tunnel between the western Turkish cities of Manisa and İzmir during the tunnel’s opening ceremony on Monday.

Yıldırım then sat down to a press conference broadcast live from a desk set up within the tunnel, complete with a photo op that was roundly mocked by opposition-leaning Turks on social media on Monday evening.

Directly after the ceremony and live broadcast, however, commuters travelling between the cities found that the tunnel was again closed to traffic, showing that after seven years of construction the tunnel is still not ready.

Commentators on social media attributed the early staging of the opening ceremony to the ruling Justce and Development Party’s push for propaganda for the presidential and parliamentary elections, which will be held on Jun. 24.