Turkey to Outshine Panama, Suez with New Bosphorus Canal

World | April 27, 2011, Wednesday // 20:19|  views

Turkey`s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announce a planned project to build a canal through Istanbul during a campaign event for the upcoming general elections in Istanbul, Turkey on 27 April 2011. EPA/BGNES

Turkey plans to build a canal connecting the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea in order to unclog the jammed Bosphorus Strait, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Wednesday.

"We are rolling up our sleeves for Canal Istanbul, one of the greatest projects of the century that will outshine the Panama and Suez canals," Erdogan told a party gathering as cited by international media.

The ambitious project provides for a 40-50 km waterway in the European part of Istanbul; the Bosphorus canal will be 150 meters wide and 25 meters deep.

Erdogan has announced the plan right before the Turkish parliamentary elections of June 12, when his popular, pro-Islamist Justice and Development Party will seek a third straight term in power.

The Turkish Prime Minister has further mentioned that the preliminary work for the Bosphorus canal will take 2 years and will start after the elections. He has declined to name an estimated cost but said that funding would not be a problem.

"One of the main objectives is to reduce traffic through the Bosphorus and minimize the (environmental) threat," he said.

International media remind that Erdogan, who was mayor of Istanbul between 1994 and 1998, has other ambitious plans to transform the city. In mid-April he announced plans to build two new towns on both sides of Istanbul, while a tender to construct a third bridge over the Bosphorus will be held this summer.

A Turkish-Japanese consortium is already building a rail tunnel under the Bosphorus to ease the congested traffic in Turkey's largest city.

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Tags: turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister, Istanbul, Panama Canal, Suez Canal, Bosphorus, Bosphorus Canal, Justice and Development Party


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