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Canal Istanbul

Grey Havoc

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Turkey has detained 10 retired admirals after they openly criticised a huge Istanbul canal project championed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Those held were among 104 retired admirals who signed an open letter warning against withdrawal from an international treaty governing use of the strategic Bosphorus Strait.
The strait, crowded with shipping, is the only waterway linking the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.
The planned canal is an alternative.
The 10 admirals have been charged with "agreeing to commit a crime against the security of the state and the constitutional order".
That puts them in a similar category to the many military figures prosecuted for the 2016 botched coup attempt against President Erdogan.

Last month the government approved plans for Canal Istanbul, which is to be about 45km (31 miles) long, running north to south through Istanbul, just west of the Bosphorus.
The retired admirals raised fears that it could undermine the 1936 Montreux Convention, which granted Turkey control over the Bosphorus Strait within its borders, and set limits for commercial and naval shipping there.
They wrote that "any kind of discourse and activity" that could open the convention up for discussion should be avoided, adding that it "best protects Turkish interests".

In 2011 Mr Erdogan said "we are rolling up our sleeves for Canal Istanbul, one of the greatest projects of the centuries, that will outshine the Panama and Suez canals".
He said the waterway would have a depth of about 25m (82ft) and would allow the daily passage of up to 160 vessels.
Critics have questioned the canal's projected cost of more than $10bn (£7bn), however. Some argue that Turkey's struggling economy can ill afford it, that Istanbul needs better earthquake protection, and that the project will create more pollution in the crowded city of more than 15 million.
Some also suspect that property development along the canal route will benefit those connected to Mr Erdogan.
 

Fluff

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Can anyone better explain the purpose of this canal, it runs parallel to the already existing Bosphorus Strait? Is the Strait so crowded ships are waiting?
 

TomS

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Can anyone better explain the purpose of this canal, it runs parallel to the already existing Bosphorus Strait? Is the Strait so crowded ships are waiting?

The Turkish Straits are pretty crowded, and ships do queue up for a few days to get through at times. The canal is meant officially to relive that crowding. But there are some complicated treaty issues as well, which I don't fully understand. Short form (I think) is that the canal as proposed would not actually accommodate all of the tankers that cause the crowding, but could sidestep Montreaux Convention limits on the movement of Turkish vessels into the Black Sea.
 

Josh_TN

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It is likely that a lot of The Receptionists friends in construction get juicy deals digging the canal out. It also would allow Turkey (and anyone Turkey wanted to allow) to bypass some diplomatic restrictions on warships entering the Black Sea, though I don’t think that the ramifications of that are particularly relevant. Hypothetically Turkey could get more revenue for use of the canal but economically it would take a long time to recoup the cost.

This is one of numerous mega projects the the “just the Tayyip” administration has engaged in; most of them seem similarly not well thought out and funded by foreign loans that get harder and harder to maintain with the drop in the value of the lire due financial mismanagement.
 

EwenS

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While the proposed canal might(?) relieve the traffic jam in the Bosphorus between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, it does nothing for the Dardanelles, which is just as narrow, between the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean. Both Straits are covered by the Montreaux Convention.

The Convention AIUI does not cause any difficulties for the Turkish Navy as it currently stands as it is a Black Sea nation.The restrictions on passage are a much greater issue for non-Black Sea nations, as well as some difficulties around whether aircraft carriers are or are not considered capital ships. The latter point is often said to explain why USSR/Russian “carriers” are referred to as “aircraft carrying cruisers” or some such designation.

 

Josh_TN

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While the proposed canal might(?) relieve the traffic jam in the Bosphorus between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, it does nothing for the Dardanelles, which is just as narrow, between the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean. Both Straits are covered by the Montreaux Convention.

The Convention AIUI does not cause any difficulties for the Turkish Navy as it currently stands as it is a Black Sea nation.The restrictions on passage are a much greater issue for non-Black Sea nations, as well as some difficulties around whether aircraft carriers are or are not considered capital ships. The latter point is often said to explain why USSR/Russian “carriers” are referred to as “aircraft carrying cruisers” or some such designation.

Thanks for that. In that context, the canal makes even less sense. It also is apparently going to devastate a lot of forest land that has people in the local area upset. I imagine the government more or less seized a lot of private land as well for its construction. Honestly with Turkish finances being what they are right now (after the firing of the most recent central bank governor) it is hard to picture the project being completed.
 

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