No Time to Slow Down

Turkey's Turmoil Doesn't Slow Ambition


Renderings of Istanbul’s new airport terminal and control tower, below

Deadly terrorist attacks, a failed coup and a plunge in tourism revenue haven’t slowed Turkey’s ambitious megaproject plans. In fact, the bad news may be fueling the projects.

“Particularly after the [2016] coup attempt, the megaprojects have become a symbol of national resilience,” author Mustafa Akyol told The Christian Science Monitor.

Turkey’s megaprojects include a US$24 billion airport in Istanbul, a US$7.5 billion highway from Istanbul to Izmir and a mosque that can hold more than 37,000 people. They are all under construction.

But some wonder where the money for these projects will come from. “There are a lot of question marks about these schemes,” Atilla Yeşilada, an analyst for GlobalSource Partners in Turkey, told the Monitor. “They are essentially [President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s] ego projects.”

Foreign investors could be scared away by continued violence and heavy borrowing. “There comes a point when the international community won’t lend to you,” Mr. Yeşilada told Reuters news agency.

Nevertheless, President Erdogan is planning another massive initiative: a 45-kilometer (28-mile) canal and megacity estimated to cost US$20 billion. Canal Istanbul would connect the Black and Marmara seas, allowing the country to relieve shipping traffic in the heavily traveled Bosphorus. Some critics call the project unrealistic, and the bid schedule has already been pushed back several times. —Karina Corona



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