Dubbed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's "crazy project," the real motive behind the Kanal Istanbul is in fact a ploy to generate profit for the rich, namely foreign investors, the daily Yeniçağ reported on April 5.
Investigative journalist Murat Ağırel said that although the government says the motive behind the construction of Kanal Istanbul is to alleviate congestion in the Bosphorus, such an explanation is in fact invalid.
"Lies! Passage through the Turkish traits decreased by 27.4 percent in the past 13 years. But imagine the profit that will be generated from the excavation alone," Ağırel said.
The project includes the construction of eight bridges over the canal, the collective length of which will add up to a shocking 14 kilometers, Ağırel said.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu previously said that the project covers some 30 million square meters of land, which equates to the total surface area of Istanbul's massive districts Beyoğlu, Bayrampaşa and Gaziosmanpaşa.
"The Kanal Istanbul route consists of 163,745 lots, the deeds to which are held by 100,630 individuals," Ağırel said.
The proportion of foreign investors on the Kanal Istanbul route increased by 11-fold from 2013 to 2018, the journalist noted, adding that companies' ownership of lots on the route had also increased by sevenfold in the same period.
"The ownership of a total of 26.7 million square meters of land has changed hands. Three of the 10 biggest investors were Arab nationals," Ağırel noted.
Businessman Sulaiman Al-Muhaidib from Saudi Arabia reportedly bought 99,000 square-meters of land under five lots on the Kanal Istanbul route in 2015, adding to more than a billion dollars worth of investment he's made in Turkey.
Meanwhile, a company named Shurak Al Ajdad Real Estate, Tourism, Construction and Trade Corp. bought 125,402 square-meters of land on the Kanal Istanbul route immediately after its foundation in 2015.