Even though no tender date has been set for the construction of Turkey’s controversial Canal Istanbul, a project touted as “crazy” by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2011, the land buying spree in Istanbul’s northern regions has already turned into a race.

Ignoring grave urban and environmental concerns mainly voiced by Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, a member of the main opposition, the Turkish government keeps the hype alive as a tool of political propaganda. The project’s finances and its business model remain a mystery, but work on rezoning and land speculation in the vicinity of the artificial waterway remain in full swing.

Experts say the planned canal would have little use as a waterway in terms of reducing tanker traffic in the Bosporus Strait. Still, the project has proved useful for boosting prices in the area as the Environment and Urban Affairs Ministry continues zoning work. Land purchases in the area came under growing media scrutiny last year following reports that Emir Moza bint Nasser — mother of the Qatari emir — and some Turkish ministers, including Erdogan’s son-in-law, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, are among the buyers. High-profile purchases also led to a further jump in land prices.

Although Erdogan has been keeping the fuss around the project alive for the past nine years, the project still lacks any type of concrete construction and business plans aside from a draft schedule announced by government officials.

Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/07/turkey-qatar-canal-istanbul-rezoning-decisions-spark-outcry.html#ixzz6T1zMBXWZ

Written by Mustafa Sönmez