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Turkey Greenlights Massive Project to Build Canal Through Istanbul

Published Mar 31, 2021 6:15 PM by Ankur Kundu

Turkey's Environmental Minister Murat Kurum recently confirmed that the country has approved development plans for a huge canal that would parallel the Bosporus, dubbed the Kanal Istanbul.

Kanal Istanbul would increase capacity for shipping to and from the Black Sea, connecting it to the Marmara Sea in the south of Istanbul. The project is estimated to cost around $9 billion.

Environment Minister Murat Kurum tweeted, “We have approved the Kanal Istanbul Project development plans and put them out for public consultation. We will rapidly take steps to enrich our country and sacred city with Kanal Istanbul."

It is a brainchild of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, who announced the Kanal Istanbul project in 2011. But the project has received widespread backlash from professional organizations and NGOs because the canal poses a severe risk for the large-scale earthquake expected in Istanbul, and it would damage the city’s last forested areas in the developmental process. There's also concern that marine life in the Marmara Sea would be affected.

On completion, the total length of the canal would be about 25 nm, making it the nation's largest-ever infrastructure project. As designed, it will be able to accommodate 160 vessel transits per day - roughly the same as the current volume of traffic handled through the Bosporus Strait.

For financing the project, Turkey’s Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry will undertake financial liability of companies involved.

After the Turkish Environmental Minister unveiled his government's plans, real estate investment partnership and cement shares in Borsa Istanbul rose considerably. Companies such as Emlak Konut, Halk, Vakif and Kiler real estate investment partnership led the rise, with the BIST Real Estate Investment Trust Index rising by more than four percent.