A sign of the crystallization of the Canal Istanbul construction project expected to amount to about 18 trillion won is attracting more attention from Korean builders.
According to the Haberturk Newspaper, Turkey's Ministry of Transport and Maritime and Telecommunications recently notified the Ministry of Environment and Urban Development of the expected route of the Istanbul canal. According to some contents of the project obtained by Turkish media outlets, the project is to build a canal with a total length of 45 km and a width of 400 m between the Maramara Sea off Istanbul and the North Sea.
The Turkish construction industry estimates the canal Istanbul project at 60 billion Turkish liras (about US$20 billion or 18 trillion won).
The Korean construction industry, which has actively participated in new Turkish infrastructure projects over the last few years, is keenly observing the progress of the project. A Korean engineering company recently contacted a Turkish government official to provide information on the canal project in a presentation format. On December 6, Korean President Moon Jae-in discussed the project in a meeting with Binali Yıldırım Prime Minister of Turkey.
However, according to the Korean construction industry, unlike bridges and submarine tunnels participated in by Korean companies in the past, the Canal Istanbul project does not have transparent feasibility and has social risks such as environmental destruction controversy, making foreign construction firms feel that the project is too burdensome.
The Turkish government announced that the project will be pushed forward with as a private investment project (BOT). This means that the operator ought to raise funds, build the canal and make profits by running the canal for a certain period of time.
"The Korean construction industry is still calling into question whether or not this huge project will begin," said an official of a large construction company in Korea. “The Korean construction industry might be able to participate in the form of winning a partial project such as building a bridge."
Meanwhile, the Korean construction industry is reportedly preparing for a project to connect the Gulf of Izmir on the coast of the Aegean Sea of the western part of the country and to land an order for Bosphorus Undersea Tunnel in Istanbul.