Canal Istanbul construction to start next year - Turkey Transportation Minister

The construction of Turkey’s Canal Istanbul mega-project, a 45-kilometre canal linking the Black and Aegean seas and running parallel to the Bosphorus, will start next year, Transportation Minister Cahit Turhan told Anadolu Agency on Thursday. 

"Construction of Canal Istanbul should not be delayed till 2020, we hope to start it in 2019,” Turhan said, ruling out previous reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s $15 billion project would be delayed due to austerity measures.

Turhan said 10 bridges would be built as part of the project, which would be completed in 2023. 

The ambitious project will accommodate 160 vessel transits per day and will reduce marine traffic through the Bosphorus, one of the busiest waterways in the world, according to the Turkish government. 

Erdoğan’s critics in Turkey oppose the project due to its environmental and social costs.