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The longest suspension bridge in the world was inaugurated in Turkey


Ahead of the 2023 national elections, polls are eroding President Erdogan’s reputation.

Istanbul:

President Tayyip Erdogan opened a huge suspension bridge on Friday across the Turkish Dardanelles Strait, the last of the major infrastructure projects he has prioritized in his two decades in power.

Connecting the European and Asian coasts of Turkey, the 1915 Canakkale Bridge was built by Turkish and South Korean companies with an investment of 2.5 billion euros ($ 2.8 billion). It has the longest main suspension section of any bridge in the world – the distance between the two towers.

These mega-projects have been key to Erdogan’s achievements since his AK Party came to power in 2002, including the new Istanbul airport, the railway and road tunnels under the Bosphorus in Istanbul, and a bridge.

“These works will continue to benefit the state for many years to come,” Erdogan said at the opening ceremony of the 1915th Ottoman naval victory against French and British forces in the Dardanelles during World War I.

“These projects play a big part in putting our country ahead of investment, labor and exports,” he said.

Last year he launched what he called his “crazy project”: a $ 15 billion canal in Istanbul to ease the pressure on the occupied Bosphorus Strait. However, critics have questioned the viability of the project given Turkey’s economic problems, environmental risks and public opposition.

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Ahead of the national elections scheduled for 2023, polls have reduced the popularity of Erdogan and his AK Party, increasing the opposition’s chances of ousting him.

The main opposition CHP has criticized the possible cost of the bridge for public money, with media reports that the construction-transfer transfer agreement includes a guarantee to pay operators 380 million euros ($ 420 million) a year or a total of 6 billion euros. for the duration of the agreement.

Erdogan said the cost of using the bridge for passenger vehicles would be 200 pounds ($ 13.50).

The Dardanelles Bridge project was launched in March 2017 and involved more than 5,000 construction workers.

Its mid-length 2,023 meters (1.25 miles) is a mention of the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey in 2023.

It is the fourth bridge connecting Turkey’s European and Asian borders, next to the three built in Istanbul.

Its towers are 318 meters high and the total length of the bridge is 4.6 km (2.9 miles) including access viaducts.

Until now, vehicles traveling between Anatolia and the Gallipoli Peninsula had to cross the Dardanelles on an hour-long ferry, and the waiting time was five hours. The trip will take about six minutes now.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a union feed.)



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