Erdogan takes ‘crazy projects’ to new level with Canal Istanbul dream

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Karaburun, Turkey :The waves of the Black Sea lap peacefully on the shore of the Turkish coastal village of Karaburun outside Istanbul. Not far away, water buffalo peacefully graze on green pastures. But if President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wins the June 24 presidential elections and succeeds in implementing one of his most controversial plans, this arcadian scene will be transformed by a shipping canal comparable to Panama or Suez. Canal Istanbul is the most ambitious of what Erdogan terms his “crazy projects” which have seen him transform Turkey’s infrastructure with new airports, bridges, roads and tunnels during 15 years in power. Already in the area, ads abound for land sales and real estate offers that tout apartment developments with a view of the canal. A campaign video for Erdogan shows the area transformed by the new project, with bridges criss-crossing the water and luxury flats on its banks. Turkish officials argue that the canal is a necessity to take the pressure off the Bosphorus, the strait that divides Europe and Asia and runs through Istanbul, which is clogged with vessel traffic and has seen several recent shipping accidents. But opponents decry the venture as an environmental calamity which will destroy the remaining green spaces of Istanbul and permanently upset the eco-system.

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