Istanbul mayor submits petition against mega Kanal Istanbul project
ISTANBUL – Demirören News Agency
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has put forward his objection to the environmental impact report for the Kanal Istanbul project, a planned artificial waterway planned to connect the Black Sea and Marmara Sea northwest of Istanbul.
“I came here to object to the Environmental Impact Assessment [ÇED] report of Kanal Istanbul in order to protect the rights of 16 million patriotic citizens, who are the beautiful people of this beautiful city, and the rights of 82 million patriotic fellow citizens,” he told reporters in front of the building of the provincial directorate of environment and urbanization in the district of Beşiktaş on Dec. 30.
“An environmental plan is a text of compromise. It is a social contract. It cannot be prepared behind closed doors,” he added, criticizing the Environment and Urbanization Ministry for not listening to nongovernmental organizations and academics.
“They say that there are 50 similar canals around the world. There may be 100 or 200 of them, but there is only one Istanbul. This geography uniting two continents [of Europe and Asia] is unique,” said İmamoğlu, also claiming that Kanal Istanbul would draw an extra population of more than 1 million to the already overcrowded metropolis.
The process for preparing the ÇED report on the canal project was very transparent, Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum said recently.
“The environmental impact assessment report for Kanal Istanbul and its process have been one of the most well-attended, transparent processes,” Kurum told a press conference in the capital Ankara on Dec. 26.
With the project, the government is aiming to open the artificial seaway between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea in order to what they say would mitigate the oil tanker traffic through the Bosphorus as well as constructing “new earthquake-resistant residential areas” along the channel.