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Links European Part

One-hundred and fifty-three years later, the dreams of Sultan Abdul Medjid has finally been realized — on Tuesday, an undersea commuter rail line between the Asian and European sides of Istanbul, Turkey will be formally launched.

For the Turks, October 29 has always marked Republic Day, commemorating the date in 1923 when Gamal Ataturk established the modern state of Turkey. Now that date will also mark the introduction of the Marmaray transportation project – a conduit under the Bosporus Strait that is expected to ease overland traffic congestion.

Today’s Zaman, an English language Turkish daily, reported that in the first phase of the project, a 13.6-kilometer (8.5-mile) section of the 76.3-kilometer (47.4-mile) will be opened for business on Tuesday. Commuters can now cross from one side to the other in as little as four minutes.

The railway line will carry an average of 1 million passengers per day at a cost of 1.96 Turkish Lira (about $1) per ride.

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Nestled in what was the first courtyard of Topkapi Palace, Gülhane is Istanbul’s oldest park, and a gathering place since it opened to the...