Kanal Istanbul, valid in name, not in substance

The government has been concealing information over the “Kanal Istanbul” Project from the public. That is an attempt to make it impossible to envision the final product and prevent criticism from arising over its substance. One of the most important slogans in George Orwell’s “1984” is ‘’Ignorance is power’’. The government is consciously implementing this formula.

The “Kanal Istanbul” Project was first introduced to the public in 2011 as the "crazy project", alongside a few photos and a video. The 3D images that were put forward were very unsuccessful and obviously, the products of inexperienced hands. Since then, especially in recent months, new and more detailed images have been used to capture the ‘Kanal Istanbul’ project in the news. 

The image below is one of the first. In it, one can see structures that are boxed over each other, rising skyscrapers, shattered trees and a single-footed hanging bridge in the front. These images served as the substance of Kanal Istanbul. If one look at it with a careful and proportionate eye, one should expect the bridge to be 64 meters in height, just like the other bridges in Bosporus, in order for ships to pass through. 

The horizontal structures that can be seen in the background seem to have three floors, so to measure approximately 10 meters. Half of the hanging bridge is on the ground. In real measurements, on a solid ground, the bridge first must rise at least 64 meters of height on ground, then it must pass the channel which must be 150m wide over surface. Rising 64 meters on both sides would lead to a great ramp. That makes the shoreline unavailable. 

Additionally, when the traffic on bridge worsens, it is impossible for vehicles to stop-and-go. In short, in 2011, the government sold us a project that was either a lie or lacked substance.

The image below is the one that has been the most commonly in recent times. Upon careful examination, it is clear that this image has been used being questioned. It is even less valid than the former one. The channel where high-tonnage ships are to pass resembles a stream on which plants float. Besides, the channel is closed by a highway that runs parallel to the channel’s opening. Neither ships nor yachts (as seen on the right hand side of the image) have access to the sea. Moreover, the skyscraper one the picture ends with a window length. That would mean the skyscraper’s top 10 floors are unavailable for use. 

While this image is used to depict Kanal Istanbul, it is in fact a representation of the Antalya Bogaçayi Project. It has not come to anyone’s mind that the image is not about Istanbul. 

Pretty as it is, the image representing Antalya Boğaçayı Project does not reflect the truth. The Project was presented in 2015 as the "crazy project" of Antalya. The PR campaign that was led for that project closely resembled that of Kanal Istanbul. It was going to become a center of gravity and offer jobs to 10,000 people. Being a formerly wetland area, as soon as the first step of the project was finalized in January 2019, despite many contradicting reports, the area rapidly turned into a swamp. None of the AKP municipality’s forecasts turned out to be true. Here’s one: the area was expected to see 34cm of substance piling up every year. Yet already after months, piles of 1.70cm could be seen in patches. Today, Bogaçayi is dealing with such problems as mossiness, pungent smells, flies, quicksands, floods and the erosion of the shores. 

Kanal Istanbul is not the first project that lacks substance. The same applied with regard to the Atatürk Cultural Center (AKM) and the Istanbul Airport projects. Before the AKM was demolished, images of new AKM that was planned was provided to the public. To this day, the project has not been implemented in its entirety. The opposition claims it is merely a lucrative project. But as usual, the lack of substance doesn’t allow for sound and thorough criticism. 

The Istanbul Airport Project was also criticized a lot during its planning and construction process due to detailed reports that were presented by scientists. Yet until the very last moment, we did not know how the outcome would look like, except for a few images that were served to the media. It remains impossible to access the detailed architectural projects of Istanbul Airport. On the website of Nordiarch, the architects of the project, one is able to find detailed plans and scripts of the other airports they have designed. With regards to the Istanbul Airport, one can only find a simple script sketch of it. 

The same uncertainty goes for the name of these projects. For long, we had no idea about what new name the AKM would take up. Criticism over the name blurred actual criticism of the project. The new airport’s name was also concealed until its opening. Rumours circulated about it being named after Sultan Abdulmecid or even president Erdogan, which again served as a distraction from actual criticism. 

The government has been concealing information over the Kanal Istanbul project from the public. That is an attempt to make it impossible to envision the final product and prevent criticism from arising over its substance. One of the most important slogans in George Orwell’s “1984” is ‘’Ignorance is power’’. The government is consciously implementing this formula. 

January 10, 2020 Mapping Kanal Istanbul