Channel Istanbul

Here is another positive surprise about Turkey: Kanal Istanbul (Channel Istanbul), which is an artificial maritime traffic that will (fully?) replace the current Bosphorus.

At the end of the short article below I suggest a few very interesting useful comments.

PM Erdoğan announces new water passage for Istanbul

I quote:

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday announced a massive project to construct a new water passage through western Istanbul province, broadcaster CNNTürk reported.

The new passage, named “Channel Istanbul,” is planned to be built on the outskirts of the European side of the city and will connect the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea and is planned to be 45-50 km long, the prime minister said, speaking at a conference in Istanbul.

The project is aimed at reducing the amount of transit vessels passing through Istanbul’s Bosphorus to zero, Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan did not mention the exact location of the channel or how much it might cost, but said, “There will be no problems financing it.”

Preliminary studies of the project will take two years, Erdoğan added.

In 2008 Erdoğan announced he had a “crazy project” in mind for Istanbul and that he would unveil it when it was ready.

A commentator on the Hürriyet Daily News whose name is Nathan commented:

As far as I know shipping passage through the Bosphorus has been free since the 30’s. Does this mean if cargo ships and tankers are refused passage through the Bosphorus and can only use Channel Istanbul that the government finally will be able to charge them for passage legally? The Bosphorus has a daily passage of over 200 ships a day(?) and if they all get charged? “There will be no problems financing it.” I bet!

DutchTurk wrote:

This is an example how ambitious our goverment is, beautifull plan which will avoid big fuel tankers from shipping through the Bosporus strait. So the Bosporus strait will be safer and more open for recreation and other purposes. Respect for Erdogan.

real-ist wrote:

@nathan – yes! exactly what i thought. as far as i know, Turkey controls the maritime traffic but there is no tariff to use the Bosphorus, in a way it is still considered an international waterway. Having a canal means $ ! – in that sense. yes, it will certainly pay for itself quickly. Definitely brilliant!

And he added:

@ Mariner, i disagree. There are so many vessels always in waiting to go through. They are anchored for days… you can see them when you take the Sea Bus. I’m not an AK supporter, but i support this. The sea traffic for those of us who commute will be MUCH better and the crap people dump (and they do) as they go through will be more easily cleaned up in a channel. Besides that, the revenue this will reap, simply put… awesome and a sure bet forever i guess. cool idea, i support this.

Channel Istanbul is a masterstroke. Well done Turkey!

I’m looking forward to being surprised again.

Best regards,


PS. I watched Mehmet Ali Birand’s TV program “32nd day”, in which Channel Istanbul was dealt with.

An expert said that 650 000 trees will be cut because of that project. Well that’s a serious negative side which disturbs me. However let’s remind that thanks to Channel Istanbul there will be no risk of a catastrophic oïl accident on the Bosphorus anymore. Thus the Bosphorus (as well as a part of the economy of Istanbul) will be saved for good (by the way, it is said that project will create 10 000 jobs).

That expert also said that instead of building that channel, Turkey ought to reinforce the buildings and houses of Istanbul in order to be prepared to the earthquakes that are said to occur. He is absolutely right. I exactly thought the same a few days ago. But can’t Turkey both build that channel and reinforce the buildings of Istanbul?

PPS. Actually that huge project was Bülent Ecevit’s project (EurActiv Turkey deals with that – article in Turkish).

Author :


  1. Interesting Cem…and as you say previously discussedunder the previous Government.

    I like the idea for it would stimulate the growth of Western Turkey and help it become a great support for the European Union.

    If the project – assumed to be real and realistic – gets off the ground then the obvious thoungt would be to make the Kanal and the Bosphorus each one way…now there’s a thought….two solutions in one! And as you are correct the Bosphorus is a seismic fault which will eventually seize up.

    The real issue as I see it is that with a capital budget cost of say around €59,690 Million is this really as necessary as it sounds for the same benefits can be received by remanaging the flow of sea traffic through the Bosphorous. If the money is there then let’s not get bogged down with the vested interests of Consulting Engineers and Financial Advisors whose only aim is to present rreport after report about the proposal and to then make money as Fees for ist. We see too many of these International Consulting Engineering firms and Advisors from the UK the USA Germany etc. etc treating this as a means to milk the cow of prosperity from their prospective Clients only to end up declaring their fees at 4% being rated to the whole final caoital costs.

    We see this time after time after time. With a dynamic Government in Turkey go for it. Yes there will be some Environmental disquiet but as long as it isn’t to the same scale as others then it should be manageable. We are not talking of the Aral Sea after all. (That reminds me….wouldn’t it be better to spend the money there?)

    One small comment….and we should not ignore it….in 20 years time we may bot be using shipping to the same degree for carriage of goods as we do now. The idea is so antiquated as to be fraught with danger by all of those who are hardened against such issues…some might call them terrorists, I prefer to call them activists..

  2. Good afternoon Carol,

    Sorry I should have mentioned it: Ecevit announced that project in 1994!

    Yesterday I watched Taha Akyol’s TV program “Eğrisi doğrusu”, and Binali Yıldırım stated: “That project will cost 20 billion Turkish pounds” (nearly 15 billion dollars).

    Binali Yıldırım supported Channel Istanbul by saying that the traffic through the Bosphorus will keep deepening.

    I’ve been convinced – thanks to the above-mentioned comentators and Binali Yıldırım – that this project is vital for Istanbul (the fact that Turkey will earn money through it is certainly positive but most importantly the water and the shores of the Bosphorus and the people will be in security).

    You explained it very well and I agree with you that many businessmen are used to taking advantage of that kind of project. The world is corrupt!!

    Best regards,


    PS. I try to pollute less the environment. For instance I don’t buy detergents that are full of chemicals: in fact when I clean the floors of my house I use laundry, which is less dangerous than the detergents. Laundry is efficient and enough. Really. The detergents do not clean anything. But their unfortunately successful marketing claim that! So convincing propaganda! (Nevertheless the bleach remains necessary for the cleaning of the toilet). There are so many chemicals that are useless but pollute so much our poor deserted oceans.

  3. Dear Cem and BlogActiv readers,

    Now that this item is a reality in the making the time has to be here to confirm the willingness of my colleagues in the Russias the PRC and the Republic of Korea as well as elsewhere to confirm that they will invest up to €30 Billion in Turkey during the next six years to promote this development and the construction of a new Istanbul International Airport nearby.

    You may very well know that despite the rhetoric or scepticism raised by the “envious nations” around the Mediterranean (MENA) area this development for Turkey and Istanbul has long been awaited.

    To put it bluntly – the increasing seismic activity in the Bosphorous is now such an issue that friends of mine in the Russias are beginning to see the demise of the Bosphorous as a major waterway upon which they can trust for shipping. It would be catastrophic for Turkey and its economy – let alone those that front the Black Sea to the East and North and North West of Turkey to wait until the inevitable happens as surly it will within the next five years.

    So what is to be done?

    Let’s not be so churlish as some people have said and treat this Istanbul Canal as a Flight of Fancy by Mr Erdogan (the most stupid of comments that we have heard for some time are readily dispersed through the web pages about this project, and even in that country called the UK (a country that sits on the edge of Europe not knowing whether it should be in the real business of economical survival or otherwise and for which its Government has signalled an early exit from the European Union, a position which will doom it for ever as being a mere history in the events of the world and a has been player in International Finance) where its learned Engineering Institution of Civil Engineers has been lacklustre in saying it is good for International Politic, this proposition is a must for Europe.

    Let’s put it bluntly to the World again. The Western Nations (I am sorry even to say the term for it is an anathema) seem to misunderstand the whole issue about working with Turkey and the fact that as a Nation it has so much to offer all. I will therefore be putting to you some further ideas which might be of interest as a support to this programme.

    1] The Canal Istanbul is shown as having just one crossing (bridge or tunnel) and that seems to be an error. To us in Hong Kong it looks as though there should be at least four and one of these needs to be the proposed High Speed Rail Link that also goes to Vienna.
    2] The proposed new airport – International Hub Airport – is not clearly identified in location. Is its site known?
    3] My suggestion is that Istanbul should be reclassified as a FREE TRADE CITY. This may sound strange but just imagine the impetus and International Accreditation that would get. I am sure that Mr Erdogan would like that, and the forefathers of modern-day Turkey would equally agree.
    If this happens then the investment issues for major companies entering Turkey will be so great that Turkey would become a new vision and centre of International Trade with wonderful expectations.
    4] I am aware that there is a major Company based in the UK (Genesyst UK Limited) that has a web site there and it wants to set up its EurAsian Headquarters in Istanbul and that it wishes to develop its programmes in Renewable Fuels for Transport (Biofuels) and that it has opened up discussions – albeit some time ago with Bogazicic University and Ankara University – to establish the learned background to its processes for development in Turkey as well as for exporting. They are talking of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of jobs for Turkey alone as well as Engineering beyond.
    5] I am in touch with a new Entrepreneurial Company that wants to develop Super-Photo-Voltaic Cell Technologies in Turkey and Malta (in partnership) that will involve much University and Government Inter-play on Research and Development and this is based upon Sprayed-Paint like Photo-Voltaic Membranes that could be applied to Any Structure (Building, bridge, dam, roof and more) and it would cement Turkey as the Leading Light in such technologies.
    So Sir, what should we do?
    Any ideas?

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