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Debate on the Istanbul Canal in Russian and Turkish Publications

Abstract

Expansion of nodal global corridors has become a remarkable phenomenon in the field of maritime transport communications in our time. In July 2015, the second line of the Suez Canal, built in 1869, was put into operation. A year later, in June 2016, the second line of the Panama Canal, built in 1920, was put into operation. The turn of the Bosphorus has come. In parallel to this strait, the Turkish government intends to build the Istanbul Canal, which should receive the first ships in 2023 – to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic. The Istanbul Canal, if built, can radically change the international legal situation in the Black Sea region. The latter directly affects the interests of Russia, which made it necessary for it to determine its position in relation to the Istanbul Canal. In this regard, this article provides an analysis of the main Russian and Turkish publications on the main Turkish megaproject in 2011­2020 in order to find out the degree of knowledge of this problem, as well as to assess the adequacy of the forecasts. It seems to the author that clarification of the degree of study of the problem will help to limit the number of "repetitive" articles and outline new prospects for research. This is especially true now that Russia has officially renounced opposition to the Istanbul Canal. In the author's opinion, unlike Turkish experts, in Russian publications the external aspect clearly prevails over other aspects of the issue, which often leads to unfounded conclusions regarding the geopolitical consequences of the Istanbul channel. In this regard, it seems more promising to study the economic component of the Istanbul project, since the financial side of the issue determines the fate of any project. This is especially important now, when the exhaustion of the ideological concept (the postponement of the commissioning of the Istanbul Canal from the anniversary year of 2023 to a later date) has led to the fact that the project of the President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become one of the most noticeable factors in the country's internal political life.

Keywords:

transport corridors; Istanbul Canal; Montreux Convention; Russian­Turkish relations; Bosporus; Black Sea; naval forces; expertise.


Authors: Andrey Boldyrev

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