Turkish Transport and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan has described the controversial Kanal Istanbul project as a “land rent” project, amid opposition to the artificial canal.
“All of the investments we did are land rent projects. They aim to bring income to this country. What does land rent mean? It means profit,” Turhan said in an interview on Jan. 11, raising eyebrows on social media.
With Kanal Istanbul – President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “crazy project” – the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) aims to open an artificial seaway between the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea.
If completed, the artificial seaway will be a 43-kilometer-long and 400-meter-wide canal crossed by six bridges.
The project has been criticized for possibly paving the way for “land rent” at the expense of the environment – a criticism that intensified after reports of land purchase by the mother of Qatar Emir, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, were confirmed by Erdoğan.
While saying that those who criticize Kanal Istanbul over land rent will also benefit from the project’s land rent, Turhan noted that the government takes profitability of the projects into account in their feasibility studies.
“Why would we do projects that are not profitable?” he said.
Turhan noted that the project will kick off this year and the aim is to bring it into use in 2026.