Kanal Istanbul project to start 'soon': Erdoğan

Kanal Istanbul project to start 'soon': Erdoğan

Kanal Istanbul project to start soon: Erdoğan

Turkey will soon initiate the project of artificial sea-level waterway Kanal Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Dec. 12.

“We will initiate Kanal Istanbul as soon as possible with a tender,” Erdoğan told a meeting on social project of 100,000 houses for low-income people in capital Ankara.

Erdoğan added it is a “project to protect the Bosphorus from a serious disaster.”

With the project, 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.

Known as the “crazy project,” the 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.

If completed, the artificial seaway will be a 43-kilometer-long and 400-meter-wide canal crossed by six bridges.

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.

Social housing project

Erdoğan also said that Turkey has launched a project for constructing 100,000 low-cost housing units by the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKI).

“We are starting the process of constructing 100,000 low-cost housing in [all] 81 provinces of our country as part of our 2020 program,” he said.

“We will provide homeownership to 100,000 low-income families through installments, [it will be] just like paying rent,” he added.

The president said the construction of the buildings will be completed in one to one-and-half years at the longest after laying the foundation as of New Year.

“These housing projects will be designed in a way to reflect our traditional neighborhood culture with squares, mosques, schools, markets, recreational areas, green areas, facades and with all other features,” he stated.

The houses will be delivered with 10 percent advance payment, an installment of 894 Turkish Liras and a 240-month payment term, he said, noting that the total investment value of this housing project is 17.3 billion Turkish Liras.

“Thus, we have added a new gold ring to the urbanism move we have been carrying on for 17 years,” Erdoğan said.

These residential projects will be designed to preserve Turkey’s traditional neighborhood culture with its squares, mosques, parks, green areas, and all other features, he said.

Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak and Environment and Urban Planning Minister Murat Kurum signed a protocol for the project.