Building a new Turkey: Erdogan's 'crazy projects'

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the opening ceremony of Eurasia Tunnel in Istanbul, Turkey, on Dec 20, 2016.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the opening ceremony of Eurasia Tunnel in Istanbul, Turkey, on Dec 20, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan boasts that no other Turkish leader has dared dream of his "crazy projects". Here is a run-down of the projects whose completion Mr Erdogan has overseen and those still in progress.

OCTOBER 2013

The Marmaray Tunnel was the first undersea passage beneath the Bosphorus between Europe and Asia. It takes a suburban train system linked to Istanbul's metro network.

JUNE 2016

The fourth-longest suspension bridge in the world, the Osman Gazi bridge stretches 2.6km across the Izmit gulf in Turkey.

AUGUST 2016

A hybrid between a suspension and cable-stayed bridge, the Sultan Selim the Grim bridge is the widest suspension bridge in the world at 58.5m. It is named after the 16th century sultan who conquered swathes of the Middle East during his eight-year rule.

FIRST HALF OF 2018

Work on the new Istanbul airport is already well advanced, with opening expected in early 2018. Built by the Black Sea, well outside the city centre, the authorities hope that the size of the facility will make Istanbul a global aviation hub like Dubai.

UNSPECIFIED OPENING DATE

Possibly the most ambitious of all of Mr Erdogan's projects, the Canal Istanbul envisages the dredging of a new canal from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea to take the pressure off the Bosphorus. The authorities have dismissed suggestions the Suez-style project is a step too far and Mr Erdogan has said tenders will start next year.

2023

A bridge will span the famous Dardanelles Straits off the Gallipoli peninsula in a project that would dwarf the bridges over the Bosphorus. Mr Erdogan has said construction will start on March 18.

The area has huge national significance for Turks as the place where Ottoman troops resisted invading Allied soldiers in World War I. It is expected to be called 1915 Bridge, after the year of the campaign.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2016, with the headline 'Building a new Turkey: Erdogan's 'crazy projects''. Print Edition | Subscribe