President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Kanal İstanbul project, an artificial sea-level waterway bisecting the European side of İstanbul to connect the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and the Mediterranean, will impose a $100 billion tax burden on the population, İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has said.
The project foresees lucrative construction around the canal, risking irreversible ecological damage, a matter that has drawn harsh criticism from environmentalists.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the İstanbul mayor called Kanal İstanbul a “project of betrayal” on Saturday in a series of tweets, adding that Turkey was “digging a ditch it would fall into,” according to the Ahval news website.
The damage caused by the canal will not be limited to İstanbul, and the project will negatively affect Turkey’s economy, politics and environment, İmamoğlu said.
President Erdoğan announced plans for the project in 2011 before he was elected prime minister for a third term, but his government has failed to start the artificial waterway project in the nine years that followed.