The Canal Istanbul Project called as “The Crazy Project” by the then-prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was first introduced in 2011 and the features of the project have been kept secret for some time.
Eight years ago, it was planned to build a new waterway in Istanbul with the aim to link the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara that opens to the Aegean Sea. The construction works for Canal Istanbul project is expected to start by the end of 2019, according to media resources, but there is no official confirmation from the state elites.
Canal Istanbul is expected to be a waterway that world's biggest vessels would easily pass through Istanbul. Canal Istanbul is known as the largest construction project of the decade in global terms. In addition, the project as one of Turkey's most strategic projects plans to eliminate the increasing risk posed by ships carrying dangerous stuff through the Bosphorus.
The 45 km-long canal as an artificial sea-level waterway will be built in Istanbul’s Kucukcekmece-Sazlidere-Durusu region. It is expected to have a capacity of 160 vessel transits a day. In terms of political and strategic significance, Canal Istanbul Project (The Crazy Project) will not be subject to the International Treaty namely Montreux Convention signed in 1936. The total amount of money Canal Istanbul is expected to cost is over $20 billion. It is scheduled for completion in 2023, for the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic.
Known as the largest construction project of the decade globally, the Canal Istanbul Project has been subject to some critiques too. The people who are against the project belong to opposition party circles and they argue that after expropriation, agricultural land and forests will be destroyed. On the contrary, many state officials and experts argue that, Canal Istanbul with its marinas, coastal structures, container ports and logistics centers is a very important project for the future of Turkey. The Canal Istanbul Project will take its place along with Panama Canal, the Suez and Corinth Canal in Greece. This will contribute the prestige of Turkey in international platform while serving national interests inside as well.