Suspension of navigation channel construction in Istanbul is out of question – PM

Suspending the construction of a navigable channel in Istanbul is out of the question, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, Turkish media reported June 11.

Yildirim noted that the statements of the opposition parties that the Istanbul channel is an unnecessary project are absurd.

The prime minister noted that this project is a strategically important undertaking, and contributes to the growth of cargo transportation in Istanbul.

The intention to implement the project of construction of the Istanbul shipping channel was announced for the first time in 2011 by the current President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The purpose of the construction of the Istanbul channel is to reduce the burden of shipping on the Bosphorus Strait, as well as to prevent the threat of environmental and man-made disasters on one of the most intense sea routes in the world, the ministry said.

The width of the Istanbul channel, according to plans, will be 400 meters, and its depth - 25 meters. The channel will be able to let pass 150-160 vessels per day.

Currently, the Bosphorus is used by an average of 150 vessels per day, of which about 30 are oil tankers. Annually about 150 million tons of oil and oil products are transported through the Black Sea Straits, while the throughput capacity of the Bosphorus is estimated at 200 million tons.

The Istanbul channel will run parallel to the Bosphorus and will actually make the European part of Istanbul an island and finally separate it from Europe. The channel will pass from the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea through the Kucukcekmece Lake.

On the banks of the artificial channel, it is planned to build new residential complexes, which will be connected with other areas of the 15 million metropolis thanks to modern transport infrastructure, including metro and high-speed trains, as well as with the third airport, which is being built in the European part of Istanbul.

As part of this project, the construction of a new port is also expected.

It will be possible to use tankers with a length of 275 metres, a width of 48 metres and a capacity of 14,500 DWT on the Istanbul shipping channel.

The construction of the navigable channel will continue for five years and the minimum service life of the canal will be 100 years.

The official exchange rate on June 11 is 4.5105 TL/USD.