Mayor İmamoğlu speaks at Marine Workshop: “Canal Istanbul is a subject of science, not of politics” – Ekrem İmamoğlu

Mayor İmamoğlu speaks at Marine Workshop: “Canal Istanbul is a subject of science, not of politics”

Organized jointly by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) and its subsidiary marine transport company City Lines Inc., the workshop focused on finding solutions to increase the share of marine travel within Istanbul’s public transport system, and reduce the negative impact of traffic on the environment.

The workshop took place at the historical Haliç Shipyard, on the 564th founding anniversary of Tersane-i Amire, the imperial shipyards of the Ottoman period. The event brought together over 300 participants, including academics, journalists, trade associations, representatives of relevant non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and representatives of the maritime sector.

The keynote speech was delivered by Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, who criticized “Canal Istanbul” – a project designed by the government to create a new strait in Istanbul to bypass the Bosphorus. “Canal Istanbul must be open to public debate. This is a proposal that will introduce an irreversible change in Istanbul. Therefore, its necessity and efficiency must be questioned by all citizens living in Istanbul. This project was proposed as an election promise in 2011, and it was never properly debated. As such, it is an imposition on the people. We will hold a ‘Canal Istanbul Workshop’ in the first week of January,” İmamoğlu said. 

Drawing attention to the scientific debates regarding the issue, İmamoğlu said, “I don’t think Istanbul’s Bosphorus strait is able to uphold such a drastic change. The scientific findings are self-evident. I will never follow [an idea] that is not backed by science and reason. Neither will our people. When guided by science and reason, one will never lose their way. But when guided by a single individual, one could end up anywhere. This is a subject of science, not of politics.”

Workshop Programme


Moderator: Dr. Captain Özkan Poyraz


  • The Past, Present and Future of Urban Sea Transportation in Istanbul – Dr. Reşat Baykal
  • Planning of Maritime Transportation in Urban Transportation: Principles – Approaches – M.Sc. Tansel Timur
  • Transport Integration, Sea & Land Integration – Dr. İsmail Hakkı Acar
  • Marine Transportation Technologies and their Environmental Impact in Urban Areas – Dr. Mustafa İnsel


Moderator: Dr. Haluk Gerçek


  • The Historical Process of the Transit Regime in Turkish Straits / Significance of the 1936 Montreux Convention and the Evaluation of Sea Accidents in the Straits of Istanbul – Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jale Nur Ece
  • Why Canal Istanbul Shouldn’t be Built – Prof. Dr. Cemal Saydam
  • The Local Population in the Face of Canal Istanbul – Prospects for a Different City – Cihan Uzunçarşılı Baysal (Researcher)


Moderator: Dr. Haluk Gerçek


  • Istanbul Marine Culture – Sunay Akın (Author)
  • Sports and the Sea – Dr. Sinan Yardım
  • Istanbul’s 21st Century Integration with the Sea – Retired Rear Admiral Cem Gürdeniz