A bill prepared by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) allows private companies to take on the construction of yacht port projects along the Kanal Istanbul route, a method often used by the government to funnel funds into pro-government circles.
On a larger scale, the bill aims to take control of shorelines in the country, including those along the Kanal Istanbul route, daily Birgün reported on March 31.
The draft bill also aims to take away much of the municipal jurisdiction regarding touristic operations, and bring financial incentives like tax immunity for touristic investments upon presidential decrees.
If the legislation passes, all public coastline facilities such as hiking trails and bicycle paths will be taken away from municipalities and their ownership will be transferred to the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
The ruling AKP government also often allocates private establishments to run public facilities.
The draft legislation also seeks to exclude locations used for winter and water sports from the category of health tourism and cultural tourism preservation and development areas.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry will approve projects that present a "holistic approach to tourism," the new bill says. It also permits the transfer of public assets to private establishments as part of tourism business projects.
The Turkish Accreditation Institution will be the only entity besides the Culture and Tourism Ministry that will get a say in the employment of private businesses for the management of public facilities.
Meanwhile, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said in a recent event for March 22 World Water Day that they would continue their work to stop natural destruction in the city, namely Kanal Istanbul, which he dubbed the "Concrete Canal."
Kanal Istanbul project aims to connect the Black Sea north of Istanbul to the Marmara Sea to the south.
The government says it will ease shipping traffic on the Bosphorus Strait, one of the world's busiest maritime passages, and prevent accidents similar to that this week on the Suez Canal, where work is continuing to refloat a giant container ship blocking the channel.
But like other major infrastructure projects undertaken during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's 18-year rule, the canal has drawn criticism from those who say it will wreak environmental havoc and pollute freshwater resources around the city of 15 million people.
İmamoğlu, from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), is among the staunchest critics of the project. He has said spending resources on the canal while Turkey combats the coronavirus outbreak is "mind-boggling."