Turkey’s transport minister: Tender for Kanal Istanbul project expected this year

World Faizah Kamal 04-Feb-2020
Oil Tanker in Turkey
ID 153343207 © Esmehelit | Dreamstime.com

Turkey’s zoning plan for Kanal Istanbul has been approved, paving the way for the construction of the artificial seaway, Turkish Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan has said.

“We have arrived at the stage of holding a tender for Kanal Istanbul. We will launch the tender for the project, and construction work will start this year,” Turhan told a press conference in Ankara.

With Kanal Istanbul, the government is aiming to open an artificial seaway between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea to mitigate the oil tanker traffic through the Bosphorus Strait, as well as constructing new earthquake-resistant residential areas along the channel.

The 45-kilometre canal, which is planned to be built west of the city centre, on the European side of Istanbul province, is projected to have a capacity of 160 vessel transits per day.

“A number of international companies and credit agencies have expressed interest in Kanal Istanbul either by sending official letters or verbally. Firms from Russia, China, the Netherlands and Belgium are interested in the project,” Turhan said.

“We will protect the Istanbul Strait from accidents and dangerous shipments. We will keep the Istanbul Strait open to sea traffic but provide an alternative to it,” the minister added.

A total of 41,112 vessels passed through the Istanbul Strait – also known as the Bosphorus Strait – in 2019, recent data from the Transport Ministry showed.

A tender is planned this year for a third underwater tunnel beneath the Bosphorus Strait. This plan aims to combine both road and railway passages, Turhan was quoted saying by the news agency Anadolu Agency during the press conference.