Investors from Gulf countries purchase land around Kanal Istanbul

Investors from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) have purchased over 30 hectares of land along the route of Kanal Istanbul, an artificial sea-level waterway project designed to bypass Istanbul’s Bosporus Strait, Sözcü newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Kuwaiti investors Mohammad Mad Almarzouq and Khaled Issam Almarzouq have bought 12.5 hectares of the land through Istanbul-based Shurak al Ajdad Real Estate and Tourism company, Sözcü said.

The second-largest buyer is Sulaiman Al Muhaidib, the owner of Saudi Arabia-based private group of companies and also a partner of pro-government businessman Ali Ağaoğlu, with the purchase of 10 hectares of the land, the daily said.

Over 7.5 hectares of the land was purchased by Ahmad Humaid Matar Altair from the UAE, Sözcü said.

The daily said it obtained the land purchase information from a secret source since Turkey's Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation withdrew a protocol that allows municipalities to query land register following a spat over real estate purchases along the path of Kanal Istanbul project.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, ahead of the 2011 general elections, vowed to build the 45 kilometres long, 400m wide canal between the Marmara Sea and the Black Sea on the European side of the city, however, construction has not begun on the project, which has drawn heavy criticism due to its environmental and economic costs. 

Meanwhile, the project has come under harsh criticism from opposition figures after reports emerged that members of Turkey ally Qatar’s royal family stood to make huge profits from buying up land around the project area.

Istanbul's opposition mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has said he would investigate real estate purchases along the path of Kanal Istanbul.

Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the mother of Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has purchased 4.4 hectares of land along the route of Kanal Istanbul through a company established in Turkey.