Despite all the opposition, the Canal Istanbul project began, and the Turkish government promised to pay its construction costs through fees and other revenues in full during the first 12 years of the construction.
According to local news agencies, the establishment of Canal Istanbul as a new crossing between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean & Marmara has become a vital issue and one of the Erdogan government’s major projects.
Ankara has not yet commented on the financing of the project, but the government is said to have entered into negotiations with several foreign investment groups.
Some of Erdogan’s opposition parties are concerned about the rentier aspects of the project, while others are drawing the government’s attention to the urgent needs of this massive project.
“We tell the government in clear and unambiguous language that the country does not currently need highways, tunnels, huge construction projects, airports and the like,” said Temel Karamollaoglu, leader of the Felicity Party.
“What should be the government’s top priority is to take care of the people’s living conditions, fight poverty and solve the problems of millions of young people in this country, most of whom are graduates and skilled, but they do not have jobs.”
Getting the money back in 12 year
Erdogan’s critics and political opponents believe that a combination of environmental and legal ramifications of the Montreux Convention makes Canal Istanbul a serious challenge.
In addition, it creates thousands of huge rental opportunities that generate billions of dollars in profits. that will be the income for a particular group affiliated with the ruling party.
But despite all the opposition, the Istanbul Canal project began, and the Turkish government promised to pay for the construction of the canal from transit fees and other revenues during the first 12 years.
The Istanbul Canal is 45 km long and 20 meters deep, 78% of which is a natural waterway and the remaining 22% will require excavation work.
The Turkish Ministry of Transport and Communications announced that it has consulted with 200 scientists and experts in the field of water and environment and received their positive comments.
From Suez to Istanbul
Trade and shipping have become more important to Turkey, and it is important for the country’s governments to own a canal the size of the Panama Canal or the Suez Canal.
The Suez Canal generates huge revenues for Egypt, and Turkey intends to achieve these revenues.
Interestingly, Turkey’s goal in constructing the new Istanbul Canal is that Erdogan’s government is not only inspired by the geographical and economic location of the Egyptian Suez Canal, but also intends to use the advice of the Suez Development Company to build the canal.
Why is Suez important to Turkey?
Arab Egypt has always been an important land for Islamic governments, and was in the hands of the Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid caliphs until 1517, and when the Ottoman Empire came to power.
In 1798, Napoleon invaded Egypt and in 1805, Muhammad Ali Pasha ruled in the name of the Ottoman government.
References to court correspondence and memoranda of Ottoman ambassadors and politicians at the time, indicate that Egypt had always been of great importance to the Ottoman court.
And later the Suez Canal became very important to the Ottoman court and Turkish merchants.
The Suez Canal is not a natural geographical phenomenon, but a man-made waterway of 198 km length that extends from the Egyptian port of Said in the Mediterranean Sea to the city of Suez on the northern shores of the Gulf of Suez.
This canal separates most of Egypt from the Sinai Peninsula.
It took 10 years to build this waterway and its official opening date was November 17, 1869.
This channel connects the Mediterranean with the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
The Suez Canal is an acronym for ships and boats that pass through European and American ports to the ports of Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Oceania. Which leads to a great shortcut.
The Suez Canal is currently the fastest shipping route between Europe and Asia.
It is estimated that about 7% of all sea trade in the world takes place through this water channel.
Thus, revenue from fees is one of Egypt’s main sources of foreign exchange earnings, as the Egyptian government receives the largest amount of money from it after the three pyramids.
Between 18,000 and 20,000 ships pass through the Suez canal annually, and the Egyptian government receives nearly $7 billion for transiting these ships.
Is Suez comparable to Istanbul?
There are very serious and important differences between the Suez Canal and the Istanbul Canal.
The Suez Canal is a vital junction between Asia and Europe stretching from the vast Mediterranean to the Red Sea and Oceania.
But the location of the Istanbul Water Canal is just a new confluence between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara and from there to the Mediterranean and the Aegean.
Thus, one can see the fact that Istanbul Canal cannot be compared to Suez in terms of geostrategic importance and the size of the trade corridor.
The Turkish Minister of Transport and Communications, Adel Kara Ismailoglu, announced that a group of consultants and experts under his command will continue and consult with the Suez Canal Construction Company.
The Turkish Minister of Transport and Communications believes that the $15 billion needed to finance the Istanbul Canal project will not be a new burden on the Turkish national budget.
Adil Kara Ismailoglu also believes that Turkey should get a real foothold in maritime transport and trade.
“Every year, 12 billion tons of goods are transported in the world’s seas, of which only 1.7 billion tons are for the Black Sea Basin,” he said.
By 2030, the volume of maritime transport will reach 25 billion tons, and 3.5 billion tons will be the share of the Black Sea.
Therefore, we, as Turkey, as a point of contact between the Black Sea and the outside world, must prepare ourselves for 2030.
We have to make sure that 3.5 billion tons of global goods pass through Istanbul.
“In a world where 90 percent of trade is by sea, sea lanes are important, and Istanbul must find its place.”
Finally, it should be noted that in recent years, an atmosphere has been created in Turkey where most economic and social issues, large or small, have become important cards for political and party games.
Apparently, the Istanbul canal is no exception to this rule.
Because the completion of this project is expected to coincide with two important political events, one on the eve of the 2023 elections and the other an opportunity to achieve the goals of the Turkey 2023 Development Document.