Erdoğan slams main opposition's criticisms on Kanal Istanbul
“They are trying to end the project before it begins, with some claims that have no scientific, logical or reasonable explanation,” Erdoğan said.
The president's remarks came in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, where he visited a weaving factory in Hereke town, renowned with its carpets.
He was referring to recent criticisms of CHP chief Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Kanal Istanbul.
The CHP has been a vocal opponent of Kanal Istanbul, saying such a construction would violate international treaties, damage the environment and will increase the risk of massive earthquakes.
Kılıçdaroğlu on Dec. 19 accused the government of “betraying” Istanbul with the planned waterway project. He also claimed that the project will not be actualized because there will be “a change of government in the next elections.”
“No one dares to allocate money [for Kanal Istanbul]. Not even a penny allocated will be given. Aren’t they getting enough from betraying Istanbul?” Kılıçdaroğlu had also said.
The president had previously slammed Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks, accusing him of threatening contractors.
“[He says,] ‘Do not enter this business, we will cancel it when we come [to power.] You will and cannot [come to power]. Our nation is waiting for services,” Erdoğan said.
Known as the “crazy project,” Kanal 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 Kanal 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.