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Turkish PM Announces Plan For Huge New Canal

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan greets the audience during a campaign event for the upcoming general elections in Istanbul, April 27, 2011

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced a plan to build a huge new waterway linking the Black and Mediterranean Seas, in order to reduce heavy tanker traffic in the Bosporus strait.

Erdogan announced the project Wednesday during campaigning ahead of the June 12 elections. He said the new waterway will be around 45 kilometers long, 25 meters deep and 150 meters wide. The Bosporus connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, which in turn flows into the Mediterranean.

The new canal would be built on the European side of the Bosporus, but the exact location and cost of the project were not announced. It is scheduled to be completed by 2023, in time for the centenary of the founding of the Turkish republic after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Erdogan said the new waterway will make the tanker-congested Bosporus, which has been plagued by shipping accidents and oil spills, much safer. He added that with the reduced traffic, the Bosporus will be able to be used for boating and water sports.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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