Over 70 percent of Istanbul residents against Erdoğan’s canal project - survey

A total of 72.4 percent of Istanbul residents are opposed to the Kanal Istanbul project, a $10 billion waterway designed to circumvent the Bosporus strait, according to a survey conducted by Artıbir polling company.

Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, who is opposed to the project and has called for a referendum vote on the matter, would win by a wide margin if such a vote took place, T24 news site quoted Artıbir Chairman Hüseyin Çalışkaner as saying.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s waterway project, which is estimated to stretch 45 to 50 km from the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea, was originally planned for 2023, but construction has been delayed by feasibility studies and financing problems.

Istanbul's opposition mayor İmamoğlu, who stepped into office in June, has been a vocal critic of the project and withdrew last week from an agreement to build the canal after a committee of officials approved the results of an environmental impact survey. 

Conducted with 500 Istanbul residents on the phone on Dec. 26 and 27, the Artıbir poll found 72.4 of those surveyed said they disapproved of Kanal Istanbul while 21.1 percent said they approved of the idea. Another 6.4 percent said they had no opinion on the matter.

"It appears that it will be very difficult for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to convince Istanbul on the canal,’’ Çalışkaner said.

The Artıbir poll also asked participants about Turkey’s first domestic car, whose prototype was revealed on Friday.

While 53.8 percent said they believed the country’s first indigenous car would go into production, 40.8 percent said they didn’t believe this would happen. Another 5.4  percent said they had no opinion on the matter. 

Turkey's Automobile Joint Venture Group (TOGG), a joint venture of five holding companies and a business union, is aiming to produce five electric car models over the next 15 years.