The Istanbul Canal (Turkish: Kanal İstanbul) is a project for the artificial sea-level waterway, which is planned by Turkey on East Thrace, connecting the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, and thus to the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. Istanbul Canal would bisect the current European side of Istanbul and thus form an island between Asia and Europe (the island would have a shoreline with the Black Sea, Sea of Marmara, the new canal and the Bosporus). The new waterway would bypass the current Bosporus.
Istanbul Canal aims to minimise shipping traffic in the Bosporus. It is projected to have a capacity of 160 vessel transits a day – similar to the current volume of traffic through the Bosporus, where traffic congestion leaves ships queuing for days off to transit the strait. Some analysts have speculated the main reason for the construction of the canal was to bypass the Montreux Convention, which limits the number and tonnage of war ships from non-Black Sea powers that could enter the sea via the Bosporus. In January 2018, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced that Istanbul Canal would not be subject to the Montreux Convention.Istanbul Canal project includes also construction of ports (large container terminal in the Black Sea, close to the Istanbul Airport), logistic centres and artificial islands to be integrated with the canal, as well as constructing new earthquake-resistant residential areas along the channel. The artificial islands will be built using soil dug for the canal. The Halkali-Kapikule high-speed train, TCDD train projects as well as Yenikapi-Sefakoy-Beylikduzu and Mahmutbey-Esenyurt metro lines in Istanbul and the D-100 highway crossing, Tem highway, Sazlibosna highways are also to be integrated with the canal project. Financing the canal is expected to be via a build-operate-transfer model, but could also be funded through public-private partnerships. The government is expecting to generate $8 billion in revenue per year from Istanbul Canal, thanks in part to a service fee for transits. Critics, such as Dr. Boratav, have questioned this number and said that the net revenues could be negative. Other criticism include the need to direct resources for focusing on earthquake readiness and addressing economic issues, and the potential negative environmental impacts.