Turkey to build canal through Istanbul to aid sea traffic

April 28th, 2011 - 9:28 am ICT by IANS  

Istanbul, April 28 (IANS) Turkey has announced a plan to build a 50-km canal through Istanbul that would connect the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea. The canal will be dug through the European part of city, in one of the largest projects of the 21st century that will help solve the problem of the overloaded Bosporus Strait, Xinhua news agency reported.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said there were many cities in the world with a river passing through them. However, Istanbul was the only city with a sea passing through it.
The Bosphorus Strait forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. It is the world’s narrowest strait used for international navigation that connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, and thereby to the Mediterranean Sea. The Bosphorus Strait is 31 km long, with a width of 3,329 metres at the northern entrance and 2,826 metres at the southern entrance.

The prime minister unveiled the plans for the “Canal Istanbul” at a meeting themed “Turkey’s ready goals 2023, Istanbul’s ready goals 2023″, Xinhua said.

The 50-km canal will be 25 metres deep, with a surface width of 145-150 metres and an underwater width of 120 metres.

Erdogan said the canal will be able to support the largest ships in the world, with weight of 300,000 tonnes.

“This is an energy, transport, city-planning and scientific project at the same time, as well as a project for employment and environmental protection. It will help protect the nature of Istanbul, the environment, sea, water resources, flora and fauna,” the prime minister was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

The cost of the project, which is expected to be completed within two years, is being kept secret, Erdogan said.

Turkish media reported that the estimated construction cost may reach $20 billion. A new airport to become the largest in Turkey will also be built close to the channel.

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