Aug 18 2018

Is Canal İstanbul on Ankara's austerity measures list? - columnist

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s $15 billion Canal Istanbul project may be delayed as part of ministries’ austerity plans in dealing with the country’s ongoing currency crisis, wrote Serkan Demirtaş in his column in pro-government Hürriyet Daily News.

Erdoğan has long-touted the building of a 45km long, 400m wide canal between the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea on the European side of the city as one of his ‘crazy’ mega projects, which he promised ahead of the 2011 general elections. The project has come under heavy criticism due to its environmental and social costs.

‘’Erdoğan seems to only be focused on the potential employment and economic mobility as a result of a new construction campaign on both sides of the so-called seaway without its impacts on the environment, the Marmara Sea and the Bosphorus,’’ Demirtaş wrote, adding that according to experts, ‘’there is a very delicate balance in the water flows between the Marmara and the Black Sea and the construction of the canal can ruin it. ‘’

Highlighting that Canal Istanbul can also kill underground waters in the region and can cause drying of natural water reserves, the Hürriyet Daily News columnists noted that economic and social experts are opposed to the plan on the grounds that it can cause population density in an already overpopulated Istanbul.

Unlike Egypt and Panama, Turkey already has a natural seaway, Demirtaş stressed, ‘’So why spend billions of dollars on such a fantasy?’’