What matters this morning

The controversial Canal Istanbul Project has officially been kicked off according to government. The construction works of the Sazlidere bridge, said to be one of six bridges of the project, started with a groundbreaking ceremony attended by President Erdogan. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, on the other hand, announced that the bridge has nothing to do with the project and is part of a link road which is on the plans for years. Insistence of the government on building the canal results in misleading information according to Imamoglu, who thinks that it is a perception operation.    

Canal Istanbul is an essential project to protect the historical and cultural fabric of the Bosphorus strait,” according to President Erdogan while opposition thinks that it will violate Montreux Convention. 

Erdogan says that the project will meet the need for alternative settlement areas required for earthquake preparedness as it will provide residential areas with a capacity of 500,000 people. However well-respected geologists think that it will increase the risk effect of a possible earthquake in Istanbul.

The project is planned be completed in six years with an investment of nearly USD 15bn.  “Canal Istanbul will finance itself with the income to be obtained from the ships to pass through and other elements, especially via the port as part of the project,” Erdogan said. But figures show that the number of ships crossing the Bosphorus decline as the tanker truck tonnages keep increasing.

The conflict on the canal will continue until the election as both sides are determinant on their views. Besides polls show that Istanbulites also do not want the canal. As the smoke on the waters of Istanbul remain, money markets are as clear as bell. USD/TRY is traded at 8.73, while EUR/TRY sees 10.43 at the first trading day of the week.

Prior to OPEC+ meeting to be held on July 1, brent crude tested USD 76.60 per barrel this morning, the highest level since October 2018, before it declined to USD 76.13.

Gold prices decline due to increase in USD and Federal Reserve’s complicated messages about tightening the monetary policy. Spot gold saw USD 1,770 per ounce, the lowest level since June 21 before it climbed to USD 1,783.


The Central Bank will release international reserves and foreign currency liquidity statistics.

The legislative proposal about the Machinery and Chemical Industry Incorporation will be discussed at the Parliament’s Committee on National Defense.


>> On the cover: This week on our cover, Philip Morris International’s new CEO, Jacek Olczak, describes the transformation within the company, which is building its future on smoke-free products that are a much better health choice than smoking. The change was initially announced by André Calantzopoulos, who handed over the CEO role to Olczak in May to become a chairperson on the executive board. Its Turkey affiliate, PM Sabanci, will be taking on important roles during the transition as well. You can read the interview on pages 14 and 15.

>> Professor Ilter Turan: A colder Black Sea? P. 10.

>> Q&A: Yilmaz Arguden, Founder of ARGE Consulting and Arguden Governance Academy Foundation. P.11.

>> “Trade with Tatarstan will accelerate with vaccination” says President of the Republic of Tatarstan of the Russian Federation and Tatar delegation Rustem Minnihanov. You can read the details in our ‘Diplomacy’ section on page 12.

>> Startup: Ideflow to transform concept of social media. P. 16.

>> Energy: First domestic floating LNG terminal opens. P. 22.

>> Zeynep Gurcanli: All at once: the SBK case… P. 24.

>> Do not miss Time Out’s alternatives for the week.

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