Ankara ‘more certain than ever’ to build Kanal Istanbul - minister

Turkey will bring the Kanal Istanbul project to life, Environment and Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum said, following the 103 retired admirals’ declaration over the discussions on the artificial waterway project and the Montreux Convention.

“Now, we are more certain than ever,” Kurum said via his social media on Sunday.

On Saturday night, 103 retired admirals from the Turkish navy published a declaration, denouncing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for opening 1936’s Montreux Convention on the Dardanelles and Bosporus straits up for discussion, and for the Islamisation of the army over an active-service rear admiral’s visit to the leader of an extreme religious sect.

“It is met with concern that the Montreux Convention is opened up for discussion within the framework of both Kanal Istanbul and who has the authority to annul international treaties,” the admirals said in their declaration published on secular-nationalist news network Veryansın TV.

“Our nation very well knows with whose wind these so-called retired admirals inflate their sails,” Kurum said.

Under the leadership of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Justice and Development Party government will continue to bring to life projects for the benefit of the country, he said.

“You will say one, we will continue to make a thousand. You will say ‘no’, we will continue to show (you) how it is done,” the minister continued. “We will gift Kanal Istanbul to our nation, like many other projects that you have said we cannot.”

Kanal Istanbul is an artificial waterway project to create a second connection between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea through western Istanbul. AKP’s headline megaproject is a source of heated debate, where many believe it could do irreversible damage to the environment.

Erdoğan has vowed to plough ahead with the project, which he says is necessary due to heavy traffic on the Bosporus and will bring economic benefits.