Probe launched over Istanbul Municipality’s Canal Istanbul posters
A preliminary examination has been launched into the posters the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality put up at certain locations in the city, voicing objection against the government’s Canal Istanbul project, the Interior ministry has said.
The examination was started on the grounds that the posters, reading “Either Canal or Istanbul,” violated the articles of the constitution prohibiting public resources from being used against “the integrity of the administration and state policy,” the ministry noted in a statement, adding that Canal Istanbul is a project by the state.
With the Canal Istanbul, the government is aiming to open a 45-kilometer 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.
Inspectors have been appointed to look into the case, the ministry said in the statement.
The ministry, however, dismissed claims made earlier on Nov. 16 by Meral Akşener, the leader of the opposition İYİ (Good) Party, that the investigation was initiated against Ekrem İmamoğlu, the mayor of Istanbul, and that he is being accused of “separatism.”
İmamoğlu’s personal opposition to the project is not the subject of the preliminary but only the use of public resources for such an initiative, the ministry noted.
İmamoğlu has been asked to submit a written statement within seven days, according to the ministry.
“Our legal experts are working on it. I will not comment on this for the time being,” İmamoğlu said on Nov. 16 in response to the questions regarding the examination.
“To me it is not a state project,” İmamoğlu responded when reminded that the statement regarding the examination referred to Canal Istanbul as a state project.