Third Bosphorus Bridge a threat to İstanbul’s future (Video)

Third Bosphorus Bridge a threat to İstanbul’s future , say environmental bodies :Environmental organizations, urban planners and many İstanbul residents have voiced serious concerns about the construction of a third bridge over the Bosporus, warning that this project will damage the city’s remaining green areas, make the city’s nightmarish traffic even worse and lead to a boom in the city’s already dense population.

Disregarding criticisms, the Turkish government launched the construction of the third bridge over the Bosporus Strait on Wednesday, the anniversary of İstanbul’s conquest by the Ottomans.

The proposed 1,275-meter-long suspension bridge over the Bosporus is planned to connect Garipçe on the European side with the Poyrazköy neighborhood in Beykoz on the Asian side. Described as Turkey’s second-largest build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme, the project is expected to cost $6 billion and will connect the Northern Marmara Highway with the Trans-European Motorway, spanning 414 kilometers from Adapazarı to Tekirdağ. The government says the third bridge will ease İstanbul’s traffic.

According to Doğa Derneği (Nature Association) General Manager Engin Yılmaz state authorities need to ask themselves how much more they want İstanbul and its population to expand.

Yılmaz said instead of talking about how many trees will be cut or how much green space will be destroyed with the new bridge project, there is a need to look at the bigger picture and see that more construction means more population and more traffic problems for İstanbul.

“We believe that even a single nail should not be hammered in İstanbul from now on and every nail hammered is treason to this city,” he told Today’s Zaman.

According to Yılmaz, İstanbul’s traffic problem cannot be resolved through construction of new bridges, which will attract more residential areas and thus a greater population around them.

“It is impossible to solve İstanbul’s traffic problem by measures to be taken in İstanbul but by measures to be taken in Diyarbakır or other provinces of Anatolia from where a large number of people migrate to İstanbul by eliminating the reasons for the migration of these people to the city,” Yılmaz said.

Making a radical proposal, he suggested that even the second Bosporus bridge, which he said gave extensive damage to the environment and failed to remedy İstanbul’s traffic problem, should be demolished to stop the flow of migration to the city.

The first bridge over the river, the Bosporus or Boğaziçi Bridge, was constructed in 1973. The second, the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge, named after 15th-century Ottoman Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, was completed in 1988.

The Turkish Foundation for Reforestation, Protection of Natural Habitats and Combating Soil Erosion (TEMA) also voiced its criticisms about the construction of the third bridge, which it described as being “illegal” in a press statement on Wednesday.

“As TEMA, we see the issue of the third bridge not as an issue to do with İstanbul’s traffic problem but about how we dream of Turkey in the future. With rapid transformation projects, İstanbul is fighting against very serious urban problems. Unplanned development leads to the destruction of water basins, which are the life-support systems of the city, agricultural fields, forests and meadows. It should not be forgotten that the third bridge, whose foundation has been laid, will mean more carbon emission, deforestation and less carbon sequestration,” TEMA said in its statement.

The organization also said it launched four cases in İstanbul regional courts for the cancellation of the plans for the construction of the third bridge. Noting that TEMA lost one of the trials despite a report from a team of experts supporting TEMA, the organization said it appealed the court’s ruling and the other three trials are still in progress.

The construction of the two existing bridges across the Bosporus, the Boğaziçi and Fatih Sultan Mehmet, both seen as bridges between different cultures, had also created debate among the public. Officials claimed the bridges represent the development of İstanbul and celebrated them, whereas some viewed them as unnecessary.

Çare Olgun Çalışkan, from the İstanbul office of the Chamber of Urban Planners — part of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) — told Today’s Zaman that the route of the third bridge, which is on the northern side of İstanbul, is a major problem in itself and runs contrary to the 1/100,000 scale İstanbul Provincial Environmental Plan and the 1/25.000 scale İstanbul Master Development Plan.

The 1/100,000 scale İstanbul Provincial Environmental Plan of the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality suggests halting the city’s spread to the north where there are many water basins and ecologic corridors, he said, adding that the central government implements its plans for the third bridge despite these plans.

According to Çalışkan, crossing between the Anatolian and European sides of the city cannot be reduced by building new bridges but by establishing a balance of population and employment opportunities on both sides.

He said the government launched new projects, such as the construction of a third airport, in the city’s north in order to support the bridge, yet he warned that all these projects are going to attract 7,3 million more people to the overpopulated city.

Third bridge a threat to İstanbuls future  say environmental bodies

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