Works on Bosphorous mega-canal go ahead from April

Erdogan's 'crazy-project' sees light of day

22 January, 11:12

The Bosphorus The Bosphorus

(ANSAmed) - ANKARA - When Turkey's premier came up with the 'magnificent but crazy' idea of splitting the Bosphorous in two and creating a 45 km long mega-canal running alongside Istanbul to ease traffic from the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, it was dismissed as folly. But the wheels are now being put in motion on Erdogan's plan, which he announced two years ago, and according to the Premier works could start as soon as April. The project will wrap in time for the 2023 centenary celebrations of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's republic. "We will build the channel of the century, a project so immense that it can't be rivaled by either the Panama or Suez canals", Erdogan said. Turkey has been riding the wave of an economic boom over the last decade and this isn't the only 'mega-project' in the pipeline. Other plans include the largest mosque in the world, its minarets visible from every corner of Istanbul; a third airport with 100 million passenger capacity to go ahead at the end of the year; a third Bosphorous bridge, and thousands of kilometers of highways and high-speed train links. Billions are set to be spent on the developments. Erdogan's Turkey is the 17th largest economy in the world, but the Premier has made no secret of wanting to be in the top ten club in the next decade. He has also set his sights on becoming President of the republic in 2014 following presidential constitutional reforms.

Indeed Erdogan's plans for a mega-canal in Istanbul can be seen as part of a wider process to transform the 15 million strong city into a global, financial and political hub. Taksim Square, in the heart of the city, has been in the midst of a makeover for the last month as dilapidated houses are torn down and rebuilt.

Another project is underway to pump water from the Bosphorus to the Golden Horn, which has been polluted by sludge.

The super-canal is set to bring the Bosphorus back to the splendor of its past. 143 million tons of gas and oil and 3 million tons of chemicals pass through the river via tankers every year.

as do scores of military vessels. This upsets fishing vessels and brings the threat of oil spills. Erdogan's "crazy project" aims to reduce that traffic to zero. Watersports will come back to the Bosphorous and Istanbul will return to its roots. (ANSAmed).

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