Posted on 28 April 2011
Istanbul is making headlines again. Twice in one week. Just a few days after the world discussed plans to split Istanbul in two for easier governance, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has unveiled a grander if less controversial plan to create a new canal to bypass the Bosporus – although the claim that the Bosporus would soon be used for boat trips and sports may be seen as a little outlandish by some, not least the opposition parties.
To be named Canal Istanbul, the huge 28-31 mile canal would link the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmaris, which then leads on to the Aegean Sea. At a depth of 500 meters and 150 meter wide the new canal would certainly have sufficient capacity.
“We have today embarked on the greatest project of the century,” Erdogan said, adding that it would be a bigger undertaking than the Panama or Suez canals.
Erdogan refused to give exact details of the canal’s cost or location, simply saying that it would be on the European side of the Bosporus and that it would be completed in 2023 – the centenary of Turkey becoming the Turkish republic after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
“Turkey more than deserves to enter 2023 with such a crazy and magnificent project,” he said to a cheering audience in the city. “Istanbul will become a city with two seas passing through it.”
WIth still a few weeks of campaigning for the June 12 election, one wonders how many more rabbits Erdogan plans to pull out of the hat.