A day out on a pleasure boat on Istanbul’s Bosphorus Strait typically involves plenty of close-up views of massive tankers transiting between the Marmara and the Black sea. It’s a sight the Turkish prime minister wants to abolish, by carrying out his announced “crazy project”: digging a second north-south waterway through the city, carving Istanbul up into two peninsulas and one island.
The estimated $10 billion “Kanal Istanbul” (Istanbul canal) project was the talk of the town following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s unveiling of his much –speculated -upon plans. Supporters of the approximately 50-kilometer-long canal say it will relieve — if not entirely eliminate — commercial traffic on the overcrowded Bosphorus, which currently handles approximately 136 shipping vessels and 27 tankers each day. Some 150 million tons of cargo, including 100 million tons of oil , pass through the strait every year.
A Blissful Vision For The Bosphorus
The government says Kanal İstanbul will lighten the load of the Bosporus Strait, where boat traffic is dangerously intense, and there will be luxury housing along the embankments of the new water canal. Environmentalists say the project is highly destructive and the unintended consequences it might produce will be irreversible. According to plan ; that the Sazlıdere Dam reservoir lake and Lake Küçükçekmece will be incorporated into the new waterway, and the route was chosen so as to make this possible. Another reason why this route was chosen, according to Istanbul Greater Municipalitiy’s (IBB), is that most of the land along the planned waterway belongs to the Treasury. There are also no forested areas along the planned route. Another advantage of this route is that most of the fields alongside are agricultural land.
There will be housing, shopping and tourism facilities along the embankments when the project is complete. Other plans include building yacht marinas, one at each end of the canal.
The project was devised by the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry. It has been shared with the İstanbul Greater Municipality’s (İBB) Zoning and Urban Planning Department. The municipality will present a review to the government once its experts complete their examination of the plan. Later, the plan will be made available for public examination at İBB and district municipalities.
Kanal İstanbul, along with a third bridge over the Bosporus currently under construction and a new airport, has been criticized extensively by concerned environmental groups, which say that the effects will be disastrous. Most professional chambers are also against the three projects.
The prime minister Erdogan vowed ,Bosphorus traffic will be reduced to zero “Water sports will take place on the Bosphorus, transport within the city will be established, and Istanbul will return to its former days.”
By reducing the risk of Tanker accidents on the Bosphorus, which cuts through the centre of the city, Erdoğan claimed, the canal will be an environmentally friendly endeavour: “This is a project to preserve the nature, sea, water resources, green areas, the flora and fauna of Istanbul and its surroundings.”
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