Turkey’s Higher Planning Committee has given initial approval for construction of a multi-billion dollar by-pass canal allowing oil tankers to transit from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, without going through the Bosphorus Strait, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, Ali Babacan, announced on 12 April. The exact route of the 45-50km channel is yet to be decided, but if given final approval it will be on the European side of the Bosphorus.

The canal, which is being built to prevent a potential environmental catastrophe resulting from a major oil spill, “will be 25m deep and up to 150m wide,” Turkish daily, Hurriyet reported. (CONTINUED - 267 WORDS)