By Halil Ibrahim Baser, Etem Geylan and Sefa Mutlu
Six of the world’s 10 megaprojects over the last decade took place or are taking place in Turkey, the nation’s prime minister said on Wednesday.
“In the last 10 years, there have been 10 major projects in the world, despite the global economic crisis. I am glad to share with you that six of the 10 projects belong to Turkey,” Binali Yildirim said in a speech in Istanbul at the Aman Union’s 8th Annual Meeting hosted by Turk Eximbank.
The projects include the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, Marmaray Tunnel, Eurasia Tunnel, and the world’s largest airport -- all in Istanbul -- as well as the Gulf of Izmit’s Osmangazi Bridge and the Izmir highway.
The 1.4-kilometer (0.9-mile) Yavuz Sultan Selim is the third bridge across Istanbul’s Bosphorus, and the world’s longest suspension rail bridge in its class.
The earthquake-resistant Osmangazi Bridge, the world’s largest suspension bridge, has a 2,682-meter structure. The bridge over Turkey’s Marmara Sea cuts travel times between Istanbul and the country’s western provinces and is part of the new six-lane Istanbul-Izmir highway.
The 13.6-km Marmaray Tunnel, built 60 m below sea level, has shortened the journey between the metropolitan city’s Asian and European sides to just four minutes.
The Eurasia Tunnel, the first road tunnel constructed underneath the Bosphorus seabed, significantly reduces travel time between Istanbul's Asian and European sides.
Yildirim also mentioned another project, the Canakkale 1915 Bridge, which will be the world’s longest suspension bridge when completed.
‘Projects show stability’
Saying that people invest in these projects as they see Turkey’s stability and that the projects are promising, he added:
“Almost all of these projects have been built through a public-private partnership, except for the Marmaray.”
The total price tag of the projects is some $65 million, he said.
On Istanbul’s new airport, expected to open next year, Yildirim said that it had not been built out of desire for fame.
“We read the future of the world,” he added.
“This is the future of the world: the center of riches is moving from the West to East.”
He said that the center of aviation had moved from America in the 1970s, to Western Europe in the 1980s, to Central Europe in the 1990s, and now Turkey is the center of aviation.
“This is an enormous project with a 200 million-passenger capacity and six runways,” the prime minister added.
The new airport in Istanbul -- the only new airport planned and being constructed in Europe -- will assume most passenger traffic from Ataturk International Airport.
When it is completed in 2018, some 250 airlines are set to fly from the airport to more than 350 destinations, making it one of the world’s largest transportation hubs.