‘Crazy’ Istanbul canal project sees first step

‘Crazy’ Istanbul canal project sees first step

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
‘Crazy’ Istanbul canal project sees first step

Canal Istanbul has been unveiled by PM Erdoğan as his ‘crazy’ project. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said they had begun studies for the giant Kanal Istanbul project with the Turkish Transportation Ministry and would be working on structuring a partnership and tender model for it.

The project, which will set up an artificial waterway that will split Istanbul’s European side into two and create an island between the European and Asian sides, is the one of the most ambitious of the giant projects the Turkish government has been putting a special emphasis on.

“Yesterday I talked with our transportation minister on the phone and I told him, let’s create our format for the Kanal Istanbul and let’s make our tender,” Babacan told reporters yesterday during a press meeting he held in Ankara.

The project will be a private-public partnership project as it will be undertaken according to a build-operate-transfer model, Babacan said, adding all of these projects required a custom-made preparation process.

He also said the construction of the third Istanbul airport, which was recently won by a Turkish consortium for $22 billion, will probably be finished before Kanal Istanbul.

Aiming to soothe concerns about the financing of these giant transportation and urbanization projects like the third Istanbul airport and bridge, he said the government had been keeping an eye on the possible responsibilities that might hinder them.The markets do not have questions like whether these projects will put a burden on the state and the Treasury, he said, if they did, the Treasury’s debt interest rate wouldn’t be falling to historic low levels.

“There is no problem with state guarantees in mega projects as the risk is split over a long term,” he said.

The expectations from these projects also should be for the long term, he asserted.