Turkey will hold a tender for the construction of a 45-kilometer shipping canal running parallel to the Bosphorus Strait, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Dec. 6, despite a government freeze on new investments as it reins in spending.
“The Canal Istanbul has been delayed too much. We will hold a tender for it in 2019 and start the process,” Erdoğan told a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the capital Ankara.
“There are other ongoing investments, including the high speed train project and airport constructions,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan had announced on Sept. 14 that Turkey was putting new government investments on hold as it seeks to rein in spending and halt a slide in the lira.
Many mega projects have marked Turkey’s last decade, from the new Istanbul airport, which opened on Oct. 29, to Eurasia Tunnel, a road tunnel which connects both sides of Istanbul, and the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third bridge over the Bosphorus.
The route will start on the Küçükçekmece Lake, located between the districts of Esenyurt and Avcılar on Istanbul’s European side. It will continue north through Istanbul’s Sazlıdere Dam and reach the Black Sea east of the Terkos Dam, located in the village of Durusu in the Çatalca district.
Erdoğan had first announced what he dubbed the “crazy project” in 2011.
But in September, Erdoğan had said his government would not consider news investments, casting doubt on the $16 billion plan.
Turkey would put new government investments on hold as it seeks to cut down on spending and quell a plunge in the Turkish Lira, Erdoğan said at the time.
In a speech on Sept. 14, he noted that ministries were reviewing their plans and would not consider making fresh investments.
“We are not considering any fresh investments right now,” he added.
“There could be extraordinary and must-do investments, that’s another issue, but apart from this, we will start looking [at investments],” Erdoğan said.
Kurum also said the Transportation Ministry and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality would also be involved in the project.