Canal Istanbul project to proceed: Turkish minister

Canal Istanbul project to proceed: Turkish minister

Canal Istanbul project to proceed: Turkish minister

Turkey's Environment and Urban Minister Murat Kurum has said that the project to build a canal in Istanbul, linking the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara west of the Bosphorus, will proceed as it was planned.

"Canal Istanbul is the most important project in our ministry's 100-day action plan," Kurum said in a meeting on urban transformation in the western province of Bolu on Sept. 15. 

The canal project will proceed after a long-delayed tender is held, Kurum also said, noting that Transportation Ministry and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality will also be involved in the process.

"Our mission here is to acquire the required plots of land and plan them for the contractor through [the state-owned Housing Development Administration of Turkey] TOKİ," he added.

The estimated cost of Canal Istanbul was a minimum of $15 billion, according to earlier reports.

The estimate was made before the Turkish Lira's steep dive against the U.S. dollar last month and it could be doubled as the project runs even in the previous levels of foreign exchange rates.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had announced on Sept. 14 that Turkey was putting new government investments on hold as it seeks to rein in spending and halt a slide in the lira.

Many mega projects have marked Turkey’s last decade, from the new Istanbul airport, which is slated to open on Oct. 29, to Eurasia Tunnel, a road tunnel which connects both sides of Istanbul, and the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third bridge over Bosphorus.

It was announced in January that the Küçükçekmece-Sazlıdere-Durusu corridor had been chosen as the “most appropriate route” for the Canal Istanbul project, which would extend for a length of 45 kilometers.

The route will start on the Küçükçekmece Lake, located between the districts of Esenyurt and Avcılar on Istanbul’s European side. It will continue north through Istanbul’s Sazlıdere Dam and reach the Black Sea east of the Terkos Dam, located in the village of Durusu in the Çatalca district.

Erdoğan had first announced the "crazy project" in 2011 but its tender, which was previously scheduled for 2016, is yet to be held.

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