As defined in their 2023 vision plan, Turkey has a goal to be one of the top performing economies in the world. Given that just 20 years ago, it was drastically underperforming, it is a big target to set.
However, the Turkish government has a strategic game plan and they are the mega projects of Turkey, an impressive portfolio consisting of roughly 100 transport, energy and infrastructure endeavours. Exceeding a construction cost of 100 billion USD, the scale of some of them is mind-blowing.
The Turkish government isn’t shy about letting people know this either as seen in an announcement by the Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in November 2017 that six out of ten mega projects in the world belong to Turkey.
One such example is the two deck Eurasia Tunnel running under the Bosphorus and connecting the European and Asian side of Istanbul within a 5-minute drive. Dealing with 120,000 vehicles daily, it was opened in 2016, and many international firms took part in its construction including America, British, Dutch, German, Italians and French.
It complements the 13.6-kilometre Marmaray Tunnel that is 60 metres below the sea and has also shortened the journey time between the two continents to just four minutes. The Marmaray project made headlines news when it was halted in 2005 after Byzantine era artefacts were found on the European side.
All of them, apart from the Marmaray Tunnel have been or will be completed using the PPP business model relying on the BOT financing concept of build-operate-transfer. Authorities regularly invite companies to bid for tenders as private entities that will be part of Turkeys vision plan.
5 Grand Scale Mega Projects of Turkey
Istanbul New Third Airport
With the first phase set to open in 2018, the hype surrounding the new Istanbul Third Airport is building up fast. Its passenger capacity will make it the largest in the world, but the Turkish government is keen to point out that the airport isn’t about garnering fame or holding world records. They say Turkey’s strategic geographical position makes it the ideal aviation hub for the world.
When fully completed, it will replace the current Istanbul Ataturk airport that is struggling to cope with increased passenger capacity. Sitting in the Arnavutkoy district of European Istanbul, the total construction cost of the new airport covering 76,500,000 square miles is a staggering 10.2 billion USD.
Canal Istanbul Project
The Bosphorus Strait is one of the most important stretches of water in the world. Connecting the Black sea with the sea of Marmara, every day, hundreds of tankers travel through it to transport goods, oil and other such products.
The Turkish government says this is a problem because the Bosphorus is becoming dirty, polluted and just cannot cope with the traffic demand. The solution is the absolutely mind-blowing Canal Istanbul project.
The artificial sea-level waterway will be able to cope with 160 vessels a day and will cost a staggering 15 billion USD. The canal stretching for 42 kilometres through the districts of Kucukcekmece and Arnavutkoy will turn European Istanbul into an island.
Istanbul Financial Centre: Asian Side
Istanbul is already a prominent city in the world, even beating the likes of Milan and Rome as tourist destinations. However, it is mostly the European side that garners admiration and attention, but all that will change with the construction of the Istanbul Financial centre, of which the aim is to turn Asian Istanbul into a money hub just like New York.
Istanbul, already a hub of business can easily assume the role with its experienced workforce and well-regulated markets. Covering 2,500,000 square metres, the investment sun of 4.5 billion USD will make up a commercial and residential hub including shopping malls, offices, homes, and a hotel.
Mega Bridge Projects in Turkey
The Osman Gazi is an impressive suspension bridge, across the Marmara Sea that cuts down travel time between Istanbul and districts along the western coast. Opened in 2016, the project is part of the broader Istanbul-Izmir highway which is a staggering endeavour in itself because it is the most massive transport network project to have ever been attempted in Turkish history.
Osman Gazi attracts fame, along with the newly constructed third bridge across the Bosphorus, the Yavuz Sultan Selim bridge. Stretching for 1.4 kilometres, it is one of the world’s tallest suspension bridges.
The Turkish government isn’t content with these impressive feats though. They also want to build the 3.6-kilometre Canakkale 1915 bridge, spanning the Dardanelles that when complete, will be the world’s longest suspension bridge. The bridge will cost 10.5 billion USD to construct, and the deadline is 2023.
The Three-Story Istanbul Tunnel Project
Connecting Asia and Europe, the 31-kilometre, three-story Istanbul Tunnel will be at 110 metres below sea level. Including a metro line and car lanes, the idea is to reduce congestion in Istanbul traffic.
Construction started in 2017 and only 6.5 kilometres will actually be under the sea. The estimated construction cost weighs in at 3.5 billion dollars, but this is just a drop in the ocean compared to other mega projects in Turkey.
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