Company related to Qatar emir looking to profit off of Kanal Istanbul 

Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, mother of Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has purchased through a company established in Turkey 4.4 hectares (10.8 acres) of land along the route of Kanal Istanbul, a shipping canal project designed to bypass Istanbul’s Bosporus Strait, Turkish daily Sözcü wrote on Saturday

Munira bint Nasser, wife of Qatar’s former deputy prime minister Abdullah bin Hamad al Attiyah, has a 31.82 percent share in Sheikha Moza bint Nasser’s company Triple M Real Estate Tourism and Trade Co.

The company purchased the lot registered as farmland in Istanbul’s Arnavutköy district on Dec. 27, 2018, 50 days after it was established.

According to estimates based on land prices at the time, the land could have sold for 13 million liras ($ 2.25 million), Sözcü said, with current value estimated to be approximately 25 million liras ($ 4.3 million). 

If Kanal Istanbul is completed, the land’s value would skyrocket with new zoning plans.

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

Istanbul’s opposition mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and President Erdoğan have been involved in a row over Kanal Istanbul over the past week.

“Those who tell the Mayor of Istanbul to mind his own business to defend Kanal Istanbul need to announce to the public what promises they made to which foreign leaders, starting with Qatar,” CHP’s Istanbul City Council Member Nadir Ataman was quoted by Sözcü as saying, in reference to the president telling Mayor İmamoğlu to mind his own business and not comment on whether the project was appropriate.

“Why wasn’t the crazy project implemented when economic conditions were more favourable?” Ataman asked. “Has the process accelerated because Middle Eastern investors show reproach?”