A Waterway Project, Canal Istanbul

A Waterway Project, Canal Istanbul
26 December 2018

Canal Istanbul ( Kanal Istanbul ) is a waterway project which is mainly planned to be performed in Istanbul. Canal Istanbul Project was firstly announced by Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Halic Congress Center in Sutluce on 27 April 2011.

The history of the Canal Istanbul Project, which is called as “Crazy Project”, dates back many years ago from present. Connecting Sakarya River and Sapanca Lake to the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea was a project of the Ottoman Empire and they gave great importance for this project. This project came to the agenda during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. However, the project had to be cancelled due to the conditions in that period and the negative effects of the wars. Even the famous architects such as Great Architect Sinan and Nicola Parisi started to work on the project, but they could not complete these works because of conditions and results in that period.

One of the most important factors in the need for the Canal Istanbul Project is the number of ships passing through the straits. It is predicted that the number of ships passing through the straits will be double in thirty years. Thus, it is planned that the traffic and passage in the Bosporus will be greatly reduced by the Canal Istanbul Project.

Canal Istanbul Project, the “Crazy Project”, will provide an alternative route between the Black Sea and Marmara Sea. It has been announced that the length of the Canal will be 45-50 kilometers, and the width of the Canal will be 145-150m on the surface and will be approximately 125m at the canal bed. Additionally, the depth of waterway will be 25m and as a result two new peninsulas will be formed in the Istanbul.

It has been announced that the transportation routes provided by Canal Istanbul Project are railways and the third airport. Thus, it is aimed to reduce traffic in the Bosporus and to create an easy route in terms of transportability by railways and airport. Additionally, Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TUROFED) Chairman, Osman Ayik has said that “Bosporus will be the scene of very different images after the completion of the canal project and this case will give acceleration to the city tourism.” Osman Ayik has stated that the boost in the Bosporus tourism will be occurred through the transfer of International ship traffic to the Canal Istanbul.

On the other hand, it becomes clear that the project content is an alternative canal to the Bosporus and this issue leads to discussions between lawyers/legal experts. The main reason for this discussion is whether there is possibility of situation that would be contrary to the Montreux Convention in the Canal Istanbul Project. The Montreux Convention allows the United States of America to reach within limited load, arms and limited time. For this reason, it has created discussions between lawyers whether Canal Istanbul Project is to be included in the Montreux Convention.

Ahmet Arslan, the Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communication, explained whether there will be amendments in the Montreux Convention by the Canal Istanbul Project as follows: “The rules about how to use the Bosporus are clear. The regime that the Bosporus is subject to is different, and the regime of the alternative waterway that connects Black Sea and Marmara Sea is different. The process time will be by taking this into account. It is necessary to keep Montreux Convention separate and not confuse with it.”

The statement related to routes of Canal Istanbul Project has been announced by Ahmet Arslan, the Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communication. It is stated that the routes will be Kucukcekmece, Sazlidere, Durusu route/line and this corresponds to area of approximately 45 kilometers.

It is estimated that the planned “New City” will cover 453 million square meters. The Canal consists of 30 million square meters of 453 million square meters area. The remaining areas are divided as follows: Ispartakule and Bahcesehir with 33 million square meters, Green areas with 37 million square meters, Airport with 78 million square meters, Roads with 108 million square meters and Building plots with 167 million square meters.

 It is reported that conference rooms, parks, tourism centers, villas, commercial centers and green areas will be located and the constructions with maximum 6-storeys will be built in these areas of the New City. It is stated that Anatolian Seljuk’s patterns will be taken as example for the design.

Additionally, it is estimated that the areas, which Canal Istanbul Project will be performed, will increase considerably in terms of real estate value. Even the location of Canal Istanbul is not clearly explained, the land prices of the routes, which the Canal Istanbul Project is performed, has increased. The clarification of the area, which the Canal Istanbul will be performed, increased these prices further and increased in demand for these areas.

It is planned that many buildings in these areas will open the door to new construction and new projects. There are indications that the Canal Istanbul Project will be the new address for many real estate and investments.

Canal Istanbul, which already causes to activate the real estate mobilization, will include many of the projects built in these area. This advantage is provided with the view of Istanbul Canal. The projects with a Canal view will be more expensive financially. The price per square meter is expected to be 5 thousand lira in the projects to be located near the Canal.

In order not to cause any negative result related to this issue, boundary structure has come to the agenda.

Murat Kurum, the Minister of Environment and Urban Planning, has stated that “Canal Istanbul Project will be based on horizontal architecture, and safe and healthy living spaces that are environment friendly and also eliminate the disaster risk will be planned.”

Additionally, Murat Kurum, the Minister of Environment and Urban Planning, stated that “592 thousand houses and workplaces were renovated within the risky structure status, and independent sections of 442 thousand of these buildings were destroyed and the construction has started.”

Also, Mr. Kurum has stated in the statements regarding urban transformation that “the construction of 17 thousand houses will be completed.” Additionally, Mr. Kurum has specified that “the process of public houses bringing/providing to the economy is about to start.”

In addition, it is stated that Canal Ankara will be alternative to Canal Istanbul. It is specified that Canal Ankara will be located between the areas of Ataturk Culture Center and Golbasi, and the areas such as green areas, walking areas, sports areas, water sports, Adventure Park, playgrounds, picnic and concert areas and bicycle roads will be consisted of this planned area. It is stated that Canal Ankara Project will consist of 7 stages and the length of the project will be 9.2 kilometers.   

Xing Guangcheng, Director of the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has evaluated the Canal Istanbul Project.

Russian and Italian companies are also interested in the Canal Istanbul Project which they believe that the project will bring great positive solution to the traffic in the Bosporus. As a result, Canal Istanbul Project, also known as “Crazy Project”, has been the center of attention even during the completion of technical plans. These technical plans, which are gradually implemented, have already increased the values of these areas in terms of real estate property value and land value.  It is expected that the investment demands for these area will increase day by day. It is already estimated that the increased land price in the beginning of the project will provide a great deal of returns to the investors when the project is completed.

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