Environmentalists demand details of Istanbul canal plan

Environmental groups are demanding that the government release details of a planned canal circumventing the Bosporus in Istanbul, after a 45-km route between the Sea of Marmara and Black Sea was approved.

Citing rights to information, the Chamber of Environmental Engineers (CMO) has requested that the Ministry of Environment hand over documents outlining the project ahead of a public announcement on Dec. 22, Hürriyet newspaper reported on Thursday, citing Baran Bozoğlu, head of CMO.

While 'Kanal Istanbul' is the biggest construction project ever undertaken in Turkey, it will have no positive impact on the city of Istanbul, which suffers from overcrowding, lack of infrastructure and traffic and noise pollution, Bozoğlu said.

“All technical and scientific reports should be made available to the public,” he said. “We will also prepare a report with our own opinions once we have studied details.”

Bozoğlu called on Istanbul’s residents to attend the Dec. 22 meeting and express their views.

Labelling it his “crazy project”, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced plans for the canal six years ago, saying the waterway was needed to divert shipping away from the narrow, accident-prone Bosporus Straits. Erdoğan wants the project completed by 2023, when Turkey celebrates its centennial.

The government’s plan for the canal includes housing projects, yacht and shipping container facilities and logistics centres, Hürriyet reported.