An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report was prepared and the Review and Evaluation Commission (CEC) Meeting of the Kanal Istanbul Project was held in Ankara. TEMA Foundation participated in the IAC meeting where the EIA report was evaluated and expressed its opinions and objections regarding the Kanal Istanbul Project.
The EIA report of the Channel Istanbul Project was evaluated at the IAC meeting held on Thursday in November with the participation of TEMA Foundation representative at the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. Deniz Ataç, Chairman of the TEMA Foundation, emphasized that the risks to be created by the project in Istanbul and the Marmara Region should be shared with the society. Because the project will completely change all terrestrial and marine habitats, groundwater system and transportation system of the city. For this reason, high-scale spatial planning and strategic environmental assessment studies of the Kanal Istanbul Project must be carried out. Excluding these processes and implementing the project only through the EIA process means that the risks and negative consequences that may be faced in the future are not shared with the society and the segments that will be directly affected by the project. ”
Istanbul's agricultural lands are under construction pressure
If the Canal Istanbul Project is realized, there is a risk that the agricultural lands, most of which are located on the European side, will be rapidly opened to construction. The EIA report states that 52,16% of the project area is agricultural land. However, the loss of agricultural land may not only be limited to the agricultural lands along the route where the canal passes, but can reach much more severe dimensions due to the constructions around the canal.
An island with a population of 8 million is being created in Istanbul, which is at risk of earthquakes
With the Kanal Istanbul Project, an island of 8 hectares with a population of 97.600 million is being created and the population is increasing in this area. The EIA report does not foresee how the channel, which is planned to be built in such an area with a densely populated and earthquake zone, will react to lateral and vertical movements in a possible earthquake. In addition, the EIA report does not address the issue of how to evacuate the population living on the island in the event of a possible earthquake.
Istanbul's major drinking water resources are at risk
According to the EIA report of the project, Sazlıdere Dam, which is one of the main water resources of Istanbul, is out of use. This means the loss of an important source of water for the people of Istanbul who feel the effects of climate change such as drought more. In addition, groundwater basins concentrated under the districts of Silivri, Çatalca and Büyükçekmece are vital fresh water reserves in the face of drought caused by climate change and have the potential to irrigate a significant amount of agricultural land. In the event of a leakage from seawater to groundwater, there is a risk of irreversible salinization of groundwater on the entire European side. The project's EIA report addresses this risk but does not assess its impact extensively.
The impact of the new island on natural life is not predictable
The route of Kanal Istanbul is located in a rich and rare region of Thrace, especially in terms of natural assets. Located Terkos route through Lake and vicinity, Turkey is one of the regions with the richest flora. Kanal Istanbul will create an island with a densely populated population by separating the European side of Istanbul from Thrace. How natural life responds to such isolation is unpredictable.
Affect the climate balance of the region
The Turkish Straits system, which connects the Black Sea to the Marmara, has a two-layered water and flow structure with unique characteristics. Connecting the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea like any other sea puts life in the Sea of Marmara and even in Istanbul at risk. The Bosphorus creates a balance between the waters coming to the Black Sea by rivers and the waters coming from the Mediterranean Sea. The climatic balance of the Black Sea is entirely dependent on this system, and any change in this system reveals the possibility of negative reflection on the climatic dynamics of the Black Sea in the long term.