Geologist and earthquake expert Professor Naci Görür warned in a recent series of tweets that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s controversial Kanal Istanbul project will exacerbate the damage that the city is likely to face in an earthquake that is expected to occur sometime within the next several decades.
The project, which seeks to carve out an artificial shipping canal on the outskirts of the European side of Istanbul in order to alleviate traffic from the Bosphorus strait and stimulate real estate interest in area, has been referred by Erdoğan himself as his “crazy project.” Environmentalists and experts have warned that the ambitious project would create for disastrous environmental consequences.
The Kanal Istanbul project would essentially result in the transformation of a major part of Istanbul’s European side into an island.
Görür wrote that materials spanning an area of 1-1.5 billion cubic meters will be excavated, which will take years and involve explosive materials, resulting in the harm of the area’s flora and fauna. He said that the excavation of such a great amount of material would result in the accumulation of small islands in the nearby Marmara Sea, which would cause great risks regarding the underlying fault lines in the region.
The Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion, for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats (TEMA) has said that the project would be instrumental in destroying the climate balance of the Black Sea on a long-term basis.
“Kanal Istanbul should not just be evaluated as a sea route transportation project. This is because the project will completely change all of the city’s territorial and coastal areas as well as the underground water system and the transportation system. For this reason, for the Kanal Istanbul project high-scale spatial planning and strategic environmental evaluation studies must absolutely be conducted,” said TEMA board chairman Deniz Ataç.