Turkey approves environmental impact assessment for Canal Istanbul
The Turkish Environment and Urbanization Ministry has announced the final approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the planned Canal Istanbul project on Dec. 23. Canal Istanbul is a mega-infrastructure project involving the construction of a 45-kilometer shipping canal in Istanbul parallel to the Bosphorus Strait.
The ministry gave the approval in a report submitted over a year after the EIA and survey work were finished in August 2018.
The report will be presented for the public for 10 days at the ministry and the Istanbul Provincial Environment and Urbanization Directorate for public comment.
Known as the “crazy project,” Canal Istanbul has been on the government’s agenda since 2011, but its realization has been delayed several times due to financial problems and environmental concerns.
With the Canal Istanbul, the government is aiming at opening an artificial seaway between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea in order to mitigate the oil tanker traffic through the Bosphorus as well as constructing new earthquake-resistant residential areas along the channel.
Environmentalists have voiced serious concerns about the artificial channel by arguing that the seaway will damage underground water resources of Istanbul and will threaten the Marmara Sea along with other social and urbanization risks.