By 2023 Canal Istanbul could join the Panama and Suez canals on the list of the world's most significant man-made seaways. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today unveiled a plan to bypass the Bosphorous Strait with a 45 - 50 km waterway. Linking the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara, it would turn the European side of Istanbul into an island between the Bosphorus and the new canal.
The waterway would be approximately 150 m wide and about 25 m deep, the Prime Minister said.
Though he did not put a price tag on the project, the Prime Minister made much of its benefits. The Bosphorus Strait, which runs through the city of Istanbul, is classified by the U.S. Department of Energy as a "World Oil Transit Chokepoint." According to Mr.Erdogan, currently 358.59 million tons of cargo move through the strait annually, including 4 million tons of LPG per year, 3 million tons of chemicals and 139 million tons of oil. This, he said, presents a serious pollution threat to Istanbul.
Mr. Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) is projected to win an unprecedented third term in elections scheduled for June. Canal Istanbul joins a list of job-creating construction and transportation projects, with which the party has been wooing voters.
April 27, 2011