The Canal Istanbul will make Turkey a leading country and place it forward on global trade, the country’s environment minister said Saturday. “Canal Istanbul is a project of protection and rescue of the Bosphorus, the freedom project of the Bosphorus,” Murat Kurum told a local party meeting in Denizli province.
The planned canal is meant to provide relief to shipping traffic between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, particularly oil tanker traffic, through the Bosphorus.
It is one of Turkey’s most strategic mega projects and plans to eliminate the rising risk posed by ships carrying dangerous goods through the Bosphorus.
Kurum highlighted the case of a Liberia-flagged cargo ship, Songa Iridium, that washed ashore Friday in the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul. Kurum said it could have been a ship that loaded with hazardous material leading to a greater diaster.
“It could have been a ship loaded with oil or chemicals. In this case, the dimension of the disaster would be much worse. Therefore, Canal Istanbul project is essential for our country,” he said.
The 45-kilometer (Kurum 28-mile) canal, which will be built west of the city center on the European side of Istanbul province, is to boost capacity to 160 vessels a day.