President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has bragged about turning all Turkish cities into construction sites, as he praised his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for "changing the face of Turkey."
"We have turned all of our cities into construction sites in a short period of time," Erdoğan said during the opening ceremony of Tohma Bridge between the eastern provinces Malatya and Sivas on Feb. 6.
"With the support and encouragement of our people, we have changed the face of Turkey in all areas in the past 18 years," he said, referring to the duration that the AKP has been in power.
Erdoğan is a big fan of construction projects, mainly roads and bridges, and often mentions them in his speeches to brag about the AKP's "success."
"Turkey is now a country that realizes more than half of the global mega projects being carried out by itself," Erdoğan said on Feb. 6.
"We have turned to bigger projects and investments in order to make our country one of the 10 biggest economies in the world," he noted.
The discourse surrounding construction is also used by the AKP and Erdoğan to slam the opposition. According to the government, the opposition is against the "development of the country," although what the opposition objects to are the tenders handed to pro-government companies, as well as the irreparable damage done to the environment.
"What is the opposition saying when we are carrying out these projects? They promise to halt all the projects when they gain power. Those who don't want our country to develop and grow stronger have always attacked our projects," Erdoğan said on Feb. 6.
Perhaps one of the most controversial construction projects that the opposition strongly opposes is Kanal Istanbul, which is Erdoğan's "crazy project" that has been on the government's agenda since 2011.
Kanal Istanbul 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, but the opposition, environmentalists and experts have been warning that the project would create disastrous environmental consequences.