People in Istanbul Sign Petition Criticizing Erdogan's Canal Venture

Thousands of people in Istanbul have signed petitions in the past two days criticizing a massive canal venture started by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, which they say will wreak environmental destruction in the city.

The proposed 45-km (28-mile) Kanal Istanbul on the western borders of Turkey’s largest metropolis would connect the Black Sea to the north and the Marmara Sea to the south.

Erdogan says it’ll ease traffic and prevent mishaps on the natural Bosphorus strait, one of the world’s most active water routes, which cuts through the city.

Opposition legislators and environmentalists say an environmental impact report on the canal, a key measure for such massive infrastructure initiatives, doesn’t adequately address all the issues that the channel could cause.

They’ve called on Turks to file petitions objecting to the report by January 2. Queues of those ready to submit petitions have dropped out of some provincial urbanization offices in Istanbul since Thursday.

Ahmet Kara, standing outside a workplace in the Besiktas community, mentioned he was against the canal undertaking because of the effects he fears it’ll have on Istanbul’s water supply.

Gulcan Erdogan Boyraz, a 56-year old former school instructor, said the venture was geared toward profiteering and would destroy town’s future.

Cevahir Akcelik, of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects, which has opposed the mission, instructed reporters the environmental impact report would possible be permitted soon, and work can be carried out to hold the tender.