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Kanal Istanbul 'will be pushed ahead rapidly', says Erdogan

20 Jul 2016 09:35 GMT

Turkey's president says plan to build a new waterway will not be affeced by recent events.



Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said on Tuesday that the country's plan to build a new waterway that would run roughly in parallel to the Bosphorus will not be affected by the recent attempted military coup.

"These projects will be pushed ahead rapidly," said Erdogan in reference to the canal and other infrastructure projects that include the Third Bridge over the Bosphorus and the Istanbul New Airport.

Turkey's parliament approved the new canal earlier this year, in April, allowing for the allocation of land for the waterway which is slated to run across the European province of Thrace.

Kanal Istanbul, which is intended to be completed for the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 2023, would link the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara and bisect the current European side of Istanbul, thus forming an island between the continents of Asia and Europe.

Traffic via the Bosphorus has increased in recent years due to rising oil production at Caspian Sea fields. Approximately 56,000 vessels travel through the Istanbul Strait every year, of which around 10,000 are tankers carrying oil products.

The main aim of the project is to divert oil tanker traffic into the man-made waterway, thus reducing marine traffic congestion through the Bosphorus and minimizing the risks associated with tankers.

With a planned length of 45-50 kilometres (28-31 miles), a depth of 25 metres (82 feet) and a width of 150 metres (490 feet) on the surface and 120 metres (390 feet) at the canal bed, the canal would have the capacity to handle the largest very large crude carriers (VLCCs) and ultra large crude carriers (ULCCs).

The project is slated to cost $10 billion, according to Erdogan and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality officials; however, it is a figure that U.S. intelligence analysts Strategic Forecasting Inc. have described as "not realistic for a project of this magnitude".

Erdogan has dubbed the canal one of the country's "crazy projects" and it is controversial, but Turkey's president has vowed that it will be completed.

"Kanal Istanbul will be built. We will build Kanal Istanbul. Regardless of what anyone says, we will build it," Erdogan told an urban planning conference in April.






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