Kanal Istanbul will put Turkey forward on global trade, minister says
The Kanal Istanbul will make Turkey a leading country and place it forward on global trade, the country's environment minister said on Dec. 28.
"Kanal Istanbul is a project of protection and rescue of the Bosphorus, the freedom project of the Bosphorus," Murat Kurum told a local party meeting in Denizli province.
The planned canal is meant to provide relief to shipping traffic between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, particularly oil tanker traffic, through the Bosphorus.
It is one of Turkey's most strategic megaprojects and plans to eliminate the rising risk posed by ships carrying dangerous goods through the Bosphorus.
Kurum highlighted the case of a Liberia-flagged cargo ship, Songa Iridium, that washed ashore on Dec. 27 in the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul. Kurum said it could have been a ship that loaded with hazardous material leading to a greater disaster.
"It could have been a ship loaded with oil or chemicals. In this case, the dimension of the disaster would be much worse. Therefore, Kanal Istanbul project is essential for our country," he said.
The 45-kilometer (28-mile) canal, which will be built west of the city center on the European side of Istanbul province, is to boost capacity to 160 vessels a day.