İstanbul Mayor İmamoğlu signs petition against Kanal İstanbul project

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İstanbul's new mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu in a city tram.

İstanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has joined thousands of İstanbulites who have been signing petitions against the construction of Kanal İstanbul, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dubbed his “crazy project.”

Kanal İstanbul will be an artificial sea-level waterway bisecting the European side of İstanbul to connect the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and the Mediterranean and is scheduled to be completed by 2023.

Ever since Turkey’s Ministry of Environment and Urbanization in a controversial move on Dec. 23 accepted the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment Report (ÇED), İstanbulites have been forming long queues in front of provincial urbanization offices to sign petitions against the realization of the project.

On Tuesday İmamoğlu went to the İstanbul Governor’s Office’s Environment and Urbanization Provincial Directorate to sign a petition against construction of Kanal İstanbul and called on all residents of the city to do the same.

“I am calling on all residents of this city to fulfill their responsibility. The city’s 16 million residents elected me for this. This nation does not want luxurious houses, ships or palaces. They want jobs, food, education and the ability to make a living,” said İmamoğlu.

Erdoğan has repeatedly said the construction would go ahead despite any opposition.

İmamoğlu said Erdoğan’s government wants to press ahead with the project without consulting civil society organizations, universities or relevant institutions.

He said the possibility of the project coming to fruition gives him nightmares.

There is concern that the project will cause a number of serious environmental problems.

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