Turkey launches Kanal Istanbul website amid debates over project

Turkish Presidency's Directorate of Communications puts website on a shipping canal project designed to bypass Istanbul’s Bosporus Strait into service on Saturday as the opposition to the plan grows. 

Turkey's Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun announced the launching of the website, “kanalistanbul.gov.tr”, on Twitter. 

“Bosphorus will breathe, Turkey will win. We would like to see those who are inquisitive checking our website. May it be beneficial and prosperous for all,” Altun said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Kanal Istanbul in 2011 before he was elected prime minister for a third term, but his governments did not break ground on the waterway project in the eight years since.

There is strong opposition to the project among professional organisations and NGOs, which maintain that the canal poses a severe risk for the large-scale earthquake expected in Istanbul, will damage the megacity’s last forest areas by encouraging development and harm marine life in the Marmara Sea.

"The website contains all details, such as why Canal Istanbul is needed and the purpose of the project, preparation and construction processes, strategic and economic achievements and scientific and technical studies," the directorate of communications said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Istanbul’s opposition mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu and Erdoğan have been involved in a row over Kanal Istanbul after the ruling party stepped up efforts to materialise the project.