On January 17th, the Turkish Environment and Urbanization Ministry approved the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the Instanbul Canal project (Kanal ─░stanbul), a pet project of President Erdogan which was first described as his "crazy project" when he was Prime Minister in 2010, and was officially announced by him in 2011.

The project seeks to construct an artificial canal between the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea, which would be around 50km long, 150m wide, and 25m deep. This would run almost parallel to the Bosporus strait.

This barrier to the commencement of the project has been overcome despite petitioning and protests from critics, saying that "the construction will cost too much and wreak environmental havoc."

Clearly there is both economic and environmental opposition to this project, but these arguments will always be present during the construction of large infrastructure projects. What are the specific arguments in opposition to this proposal, and what arguments have the Erdogan administration put forward to justify this project, given that the Bosporus would seem to fulfil this purpose already?

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