Not a crazy project, craziness for disaster

Not a crazy project, craziness for disaster

Melis Alphan
Istanbul was a city of water in the past; it has transformed into a city of land. In this course, it has always been political moves that were effective. 

The settlement project including the third bridge, third airport and Kanal Istanbul are the most serious last three links in this course. 

When we review when the projects started and which stages they have gone through, we see an enormous amount of lawlessness and disregard of the science of urban and regional planning. 

There is no point in taking legal action in these days either because both with the changing of judges and with the contrary decisions from expert reports, these projects are continuing.

Professor Betül Şengezer from Yıldız Technical University has said the Kanal Istanbul project covers 30,000 hectares. In other words, an area equivalent to half of the entire residential region of Istanbul has been declared the project zone in a decision from the Cabinet. It is being said that this mad project’s cost is 10 billion dollars, but there is no visible feasibility; where this money is coming from is another question mark, anyway. 

Both the Panama and the Suez canals are on the axis where world naval transit is conducted. These canals shorten the distance and decrease the cost of transporting by thousands of kilometers. 

The 47-kilometer long Kanal Istanbul will not decrease transportation costs. Well, why are you building it? 

It is being said that “In Kanal Istanbul, ships will not wait, they will pass without delay. This was a significant loss; we will decrease this.”

As a matter of fact, when we see the pictures of the Panama Canal, we see tankers are waiting in lines. 

Let’s assume the tankers pass from the new channel swiftly; then what do we do with the Dardanelles Straight (Çanakkale)? Are we going to dig an alternative to that also? Will tankers not wait there? 
We will need at least three to five bridges to pass across this canal. Were these included in this cost? I don’t think so. 

Besides, we have an international convention such as the Montreux. Within this scope, will other nations agree to pass through the other canal you have built with a fee? This can create a legal issue at the international level. After making such an investment, if Russia says “I will not have my ships pass there,” what will you do? After spending so much on pipelines why should they carry goods with tankers? 

You say “I will be using the Bosphorus for recreational purposes,” but we look at the plans and see you have created several sportive, recreational areas around Lake Küçükçekmece. You are contradicting yourself. 

There is evidence that the ecology of the Marmara Sea will change entirely once Kanal Istanbul is built. 
All of these issues should be separately examined and feasibility reports should be issued. There are no such reports. 

This is an area where the state owns huge amounts of land. These are being allocated to some construction firms through TOKİ’s (Mass Housing Administration) income share method. Construction is ongoing. 

The income TOKİ will earn from the 30,000-hectare land including Kanal Istanbul is around 135 billion dollars. The earthquake tax collected since 2002 is 44 billion Turkish Liras. 

It is obvious the issue is not the earthquake here, but the earthquake is used as an excuse for the financial profit to be gained here. 

The profit is financial, but the loss is vital. Kanal Istanbul, far from being a crazy project, is craziness for disaster. 

This does not have anything to do with political parties. This gain is drooling for every government. 
What is important is we have to be aware and stand against it. 

Melis Alphan is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published on Dec 16. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.