ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken the first step in the construction of a ship canal skirting Istanbul that the government says will ease marine traffic in the Bosporus Strait. Erdogan said Saturday in a bridge ground-breaking ceremony west of Istanbul that “today we are opening a new page in the history of Turkey’s development.” The idea of a canal linking the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea was dubbed his “crazy project” by Erdogan and was first suggested in 2011. The government says the canal will relieve pressure on the Bosporus, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, and reduce the risk of accidents. Opponents claim it will serve little purpose and will cause widespread ecological damage to the region.
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