Turkey's megaprojects: Opportunities and concerns

26-01-2016

In the past five years, the Turkish leadership has announced a series of megaprojects, the purpose of which is both to support national development, and to gain a place for the country in the world's top ten economies. The main megaprojects include the 'Canalistanbul', which will create an additional shipping channel from the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea, a new airport, with the ambition to be the busiest in the world, a third bridge across the Bosphorus in Istanbul, as well as nuclear power plants and major pipelines across the country. These projects have led to major debates within Turkish society, as they are planned by the central government with little input from local communities. In addition there is controversy because of their potential impact on the environment, in an area of considerable seismic risk. These two dimensions were criticised in the European Commission's most recent report on Turkey's progress towards EU accession, published in November 2015. In June 2015, the European Parliament criticised Turkey's stance on freedom of speech, which is key to the possibilities for informing and consulting with civil society on large infrastructure developments such as the megaprojects.

In the past five years, the Turkish leadership has announced a series of megaprojects, the purpose of which is both to support national development, and to gain a place for the country in the world's top ten economies. The main megaprojects include the 'Canalistanbul', which will create an additional shipping channel from the Marmara Sea to the Black Sea, a new airport, with the ambition to be the busiest in the world, a third bridge across the Bosphorus in Istanbul, as well as nuclear power plants and major pipelines across the country. These projects have led to major debates within Turkish society, as they are planned by the central government with little input from local communities. In addition there is controversy because of their potential impact on the environment, in an area of considerable seismic risk. These two dimensions were criticised in the European Commission's most recent report on Turkey's progress towards EU accession, published in November 2015. In June 2015, the European Parliament criticised Turkey's stance on freedom of speech, which is key to the possibilities for informing and consulting with civil society on large infrastructure developments such as the megaprojects.