Canal Istanbul

A higher planning agency in Turkey has approved preliminary infrastructure plans for the construction of a waterway that would link the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, said Ali Babacan, the country’s deputy premier in charge of economy.

Those plans include construction a network of roads and bridges before the actual construction could begin for the Canal Istanbul project, Babacan told reporters Friday in a panel discussion in Ankara.

“Once a canal gets built under the Kanal Istanbul Project, some of the roads would have to be changed. There will be need for bridges. And the High Planning Board’s relevant decision on Kanal Istanbul Project was completed this week,” Babacan said.

‘Canal Istanbul,’ proposed in 2011 by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as “a crazy and magnificent project,” would dissect the current European side of Istanbul into two and bypass the Istanbul Strait, the only water passage between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

The proposed channel will be around 30 miles long, 25 metres deep and 150 metres wide and it aims to minimize shipping traffic in the Istanbul Strait, overwhelmed by tanker traffic.

The project is intended for 2023, the centenary of the founding of the Republic of Turkey.