Erdogan: Canal Istanbul post-election priority


    President Recep Tayyip said on Saturday that the first initiative of his government after winning elections would be the construction of Canal Istanbul, an artificial sea-level waterway that will connect the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara.

    Once completed, it will reduce shipping traffic, particularly oil tanker traffic, passing through the Bosphorus Strait.

    Addressing a large crowd at the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party women's congress in Istanbul, Erdogan said: "We want our women to be more active, more engaged, and be represented in higher numbers in politics and in the parliament."

    Speaking about the upcoming early elections, he said Istanbul with its nearly 9.5 million voters will be a major player.

    Erdogan later attended the AK Party's 6th ordinary provincial congress in western Izmir province along with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

    Speaking at the congress, Yildirim emphasized that bureaucracy would work faster and the citizens' problems will be solved quicker with the presidential system, following the early elections scheduled for June 24.

    On April 16, 2017, Turkey held a referendum on a constitutional reform in which the majority of voters pronounced themselves in favor of an 18-article bill switching a parliamentary system into a presidential one.

    Under the constitutional reform, the number of lawmakers in the parliament will rise to 600 from 550, the presidential and the parliamentary elections will be held after every five years and the elected president will not be bound to cut ties with his or her party.

    He said the new system will also help narrow the gap between the state and the citizens.


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