Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has insisted construction of a long-planned canal linking the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara will start at the end of this month.
The 45 km Canal Istanbul, which Erdogan has been planning for the last decade, would serve as an alternative to the Bosporus Strait (pictured). It is projected to cost $15bn to complete. Just last week a tanker ran into difficulties on the Bosporus, halting all traffic for a number of hours.
The proposed waterway would be located on the west of the city centre on the European side of Istanbul with a capacity of 160 vessel transits a day.
The controversial mega-project has drawn plenty of criticism.
Istanbul’s mayor Ekrem Imamoglu has said the project would “annihilate” water resources for the city’s 16m residents and ruin the province’s nature beyond repair.