Duvar English

Turkey’s Constitutional Court (AYM) has unanimously voted to reject the main opposition party’s appeal to halt the Kanal Istanbul project, the Official Gazette reported on Feb. 12.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had made an appeal to the Constitutional Court to repeal the “Kanal Istanbul and similar waterway projects” amendment of the Build-Operate-Transfer bill number 7416.

The court ruled unanimously against the appeal, which had been signed by 139 CHP deputies.

A bill that proposed including Kanal Istanbul and similar waterway projects in the build-operate-transfer model was approved in parliament on Jul. 26, 2018.

The CHP had applied to the Constitutional Court once before, only to be rejected.

The highly controversial Kanal Istanbul project has been the source of a public debate since the release of the Environmental Impact Assessment report on Dec. 23, 2019.

While President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refers to the canal – that would essentially split Thrace in two – his “dream,” experts have warned about the project’s environmental impact on the local fauna and flora. 

Concerns have also been voiced over the political implications of carving out a waterway that would allow ships to bypass the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, and thereby violating the Montreux Treaty.