UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS FROM MINISTER
By Yildiz Nevin Gundogmus
ANKARA (AA) - The Environment and Urbanization Ministry Friday approved the report on environmental impact of Turkey’s planned megaproject, Canal Istanbul, an official said.
Canal Istanbul is one of Turkey's most strategic megaprojects, which is meant to reduce potential risks posed by ships carrying dangerous goods through the Bosphorus Strait.
The 45-kilometer (nearly 28-mile) canal, which will be built west of the city center on the European side of Istanbul province, is projected to have a capacity of 160 vessel transits a day.
Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum announced the approval of the ministry.
Calling Canal Istanbul as the freedom project of the Bosphorus, Kurum said: "Under the project, we will realize smart city applications and implement an exemplary urbanism model that will not top 500,000 inhabitants on both sides of the channel."
No illegal land income on Canal Istanbul will be allowed, he underlined.
Previously, Kurum stressed that the ministry approached the air, water, forests, soil, green areas, lakes, sea and ecological balance of Istanbul with a strategy to protect the environment and nature.
During the process of preparing the report, municipalities, academicians, environmental specialists, institutions and NGOs had been present at the meetings.
Touching on Turkey's social project of 100,000 houses for low-income people, Kurum said more than 1,200 people applied to benefit from the project.
The country will construct 100,000 low-cost housings in [all] 81 provinces as part of its 2020 development program.
The construction of the initial group of housings will be completed in no more than one-and-a-half years.