Turkey will hold a tender for the construction of a 45-kilometer shipping canal running parallel to the Bosphorus Strait, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said , Hurriyet Daily News reported
“The Canal Istanbul has been delayed too much. We will hold a tender for it in 2019 and start the process,” Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the capital Ankara.
“There are other ongoing investments, including the high speed train project and airport constructions,” Erdogan said.
The Canal Istanbul is one of Erdogan’s favorite mega infrastructure projects.
Erdogan had announced on Sept. 14 that Turkey was putting new government investments on hold as it seeks to rein in spending and halt a slide in the lira.
It was announced in January that the Kucukcekmece-Sazlidere-Durusu corridor had been chosen as the “most appropriate route” for the Canal Istanbul project, which would extend for a length of 45 km.
Many mega projects have marked Turkey’s last decade, from the new Istanbul airport, which opened on Oct. 29, to Eurasia Tunnel, a road tunnel which connects both sides of Istanbul, and the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third bridge over the Bosphorus.
The route will start on the Kucukcekmece Lake, located between the districts of Esenyurt and Avcilar on Istanbul’s European side. It will continue north through Istanbul’s Sazlidere Dam and reach the Black Sea east of the Terkos Dam, located in the village of Durusu in the Catalca district.
Erdogan had first announced what he dubbed the “crazy project” in 2011.
But in September, Erdogan had said his government would not consider news investments, casting doubt on the $16 billion plan.
Turkey would put new government investments on hold as it seeks to cut down on spending and quell a plunge in the Turkish Lira, Erdogan said at the time.
In a speech on Sept. 14, he noted that ministries were reviewing their plans and would not consider making fresh investments.
“We are not considering any fresh investments right now,” he added.
“There could be extraordinary and must-do investments, that’s another issue, but apart from this, we will start looking [at investments],” Erdogan said.
Yet, later in September, Environment and Urban Minister Murat Kurum had said that the Canal Istanbul would proceed as it was planned.
Kurum also said the Transportation Ministry and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality would also be involved in the project.