Turkish Minister denies allegations that Istanbul canal project was cancelled
Turkey’s Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum denied allegations that a canal project in Istanbul was annulled in an announcement he made on his social media accounts.
Cumhuriyet newspaper on Saturday ran a story saying the “crazy project” of Turkish President Erdogan, an artificial waterway to connect Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara to relieve pressure on the Bosphorus, was quietly annulled, citing a court order telling the property owners that the zoning plans were canceled on August 19, 2022.
The property owners in the plans prepared for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd phases of the Kanal Istanbul project were given worthless lands so they had filed lawsuits, but the response from the court said there was no room for a lawsuit since the plans changed, Cumhuriyet reported.
But Murat Kurum, the Minister of Environment and Urbanization said they are “implementing the pride project step by step” adding that some practices concerning the zoning plans changed but the master plans were still in place.
The $15 billion waterway was launched last year by President Erdogan who said the project was necessary as the Bosphorus Strait sees too much traffic and ships had to wait days at times before crossing it, and the passage was difficult to navigate for large cargo ships and could lead to accidents.
But the project is heavily criticized by environmentalists who say the canal will disrupt the fresh-water sources for the city. 40 percent of the city’s water comes from the European side of the economic capital, site of the future canal.
Environmentalists also say the new canal is likely to upset the natural equilibrium of currents between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara and it will act like a siphon, sucking in the polluted waters of the Black Sea that will ultimately end up in the Mediterranean.