Kanal Istanbul at the center of political debate

“They take this money from you by force through international arbitration,” said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who broke ground on the Kanal Istanbul after the Republic People’s Party (CHP) Leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu called on companies and creditors not to join the Kanal Istanbul tender as they won’t pay its money when they come to power. This has restarted the Kanal Istanbul debate. The Kanal Istanbul, which was referred to by President Erdogan as a ‘crazy project’ in April 2011, when he was Prime Minister, held its first a groundbreaking ceremony, for a bridge, the previous on June 26 weekend. This time the debate is on whether international financial institutions could take their money back ‘by force,’ if they provide financing give credit to the project. CHP Leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu warned foreign entrepreneurs and investors, which are likely to support the Kanal Istanbul project, in German, English, French, and Arabic languages on his official Twitter account. “Institutions that fund Kanal Istanbul, which is contrary to the interests of my nation and world climate policy, will not receive reimbursement from the treasury of Turkey. Compensation will also be sought for any destruction of nature that the project will cause,” he said.


IYI Party Leader Meral Aksener raised the ‘odious debt’ issue. “There is a concept in international law called ‘odious debt’,” she said, alluding to allegations the President Erdogan has benefitted personally from Turkey growing debt. “This concept is used for leaders taking on foreign debt and spending this for their personal prosperity. It says that this debt should be collected from the leader as it is recognized as his personal expenditure. There are three conditions so that a debt can be recognized as ‘odious debt’. First: Informing the borrower. We fulfilled this duty. We warned all institutions. Second: Borrowing without people’s consent. This condition was also met. No separate referendum was held for Kanal Istanbul and no approval was received from the people. Third: Not using the debt for the people’s interest. This condition was also met. Our nation won’t pay this money back; you’ll forfeit it according to this doctrine.”


“They even shake their finger at the country for which we want to attract investment,” President Erdogan said about the criticisms. “They say we won’t pay you if you provide a loan. ”“They even threatened Deutsche Bank. They’re unaware of what the government is, how the government is run.” Erdogan pointed to the international arbitration mechanism, and said the opposition is in the dark about this. “Haven’t we paid the borrowing debts accumulated prior to us when we came coming to power?. We did. Because this is how government is run,” he added.

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