Turkish gov’t opens Canal Istanbul probe against Istanbul mayor

The Turkish government opened on Monday an investigation against Ekrem Imamoglu, mayor of Turkey’s biggest city Istanbul, over his objection to the planned Canal Istanbul.

Istanbul Municipality spokesperson Murat Ongun announced on his Twitter account that the Interior Ministry launched the probe, saying “it is not possible to oppose the principle of the integrity of the administration and state policy by using public funds.”

Ongun said the inquiry covers the banners recently hanging in various parts of the city that read “Who Needs Canal Istanbul” and “Either Canal or Istanbul.”

“As part of this investigation, he has been requested to submit a written statement about the banners within seven days,” Ongun noted.

Canal Istanbul was first brought out by then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2011 to ease the heavy traffic of the 30-km-long Bosphorus Strait, one of the world’s busiest waterways that divides the Asian and European parts of Istanbul.

So far, the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization has approved several phases of the project.

Imamoglu has been claiming that the canal would destroy the city’s water resources, has the potential to trigger the expected earthquake risk in the city and may destroy the natural tissue of the city.