Turkey to work with Panama for Canal Istanbul: Minister
ISTANBULTurkey will collaborate with the team that oversaw an expansion to the Panama Canal for Turkey’s Canal Istanbul Project, Transportation, Maritime and Communication Minister Ahmet Arslan has said.
“In light of the deal that we have signed, a collaboration platform will be formed with the team that carried out the expansion project of the Panama Canal for the Canal Istanbul project,” Arslan said, adding that Turkey would make use of the Panamanian government’s accumulation of knowledge on the canal.
“We believe that Panama, one of the countries that has the longest and most established experience in canal management, will provide a massive contribution to the construction of the Canal Istanbul project, which will be built to ease the maritime traffic on the Bosphorus Strait,” he added.
Canal Istanbul, which aims to build a canal across the city’s European side to supplement the Bosphorus, was among the “crazy projects” that then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced ahead of the 2011 general election.
Turkey and Panama signed an agreement on a collaboration platform for the sharing of expertise on management and technical issues on June 27 in Panama City.
“Canal Istanbul and Panama Canal are different projects in terms of the geographical structure, the construction practice and the financing model. Canal Istanbul, which will be one of the biggest projects in the world, will be constructed with unique construction and engineering techniques. However, the experience in the Panama Canal is extremely significant, and we will try to build the best by making use of their experience,” Arslan said.
Canal Istanbul will be important for not only Istanbul but for all countries using the strait, the minister said, adding that they were expecting the new channel to exceed 40 kilometers in length.
“We predict that the width of the canal will be 500 meters at the surface and 400 meters at the base. The depth of the water will be 30 meters. Thus, the tankers threatening maritime traffic in the Bosphorus Strait will be able to use the new canal and the strait’s security will be guaranteed,” Arslan also said.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım recently commented on the Canal Istanbul project, saying the tender for the project would be held by the end of the year.
“We will push the button for the Canal Istanbul project at the end of this year,” Yıldırım said at a fast-breaking ceremony on June 25.
Panama has spent the past nine years, and more than $5.5 billion, expanding its century-old canal to take on bigger freighters. It was inaugurated on June 26.
“This is a great day, a day of national unity and a day for Panama,” President Juan Carlos Varela said in a speech. “This is the route that unites the world.”