Istanbulites Protest against Planned Third Bridge

Around two thousand people gathered and marched against the construction of a third bridge across the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

On Saturday, 18 July, around 2,000 people walked from the neighbourhood of Çayırbaşı to Sarıyer, both on the Bosphorus straits, to protest against the announced construction of a third bridge across the water.

The protest rally was organised by the "Life Platform instead of a Third Bridge". A peace bicycle group cycled along the Bosphorus to Sarıyer, and other protesters came by boat, hanging up protest placards.

Residents living in the area supported the protest with applause from their balconies.

Protests against the plan

The crowd shouted slogans such as "Let the bridge collapse on top of Tayyip (the PM)", "No bridge, public transport", "In this country the people are not for sale" and "Long live our struggle for the people's rights".

Placard slogans protested against the capitalist interests that were destroying the environment, calling the planned bridge a "murder".

Çetin Soysal, MP in Istanbul for the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), called the planned construction a "bridge of betrayal".

"Not necessary"

Besim Sertok, president of the Istanbul branch of the Chamber of Forestry Engineers, said that the feasibility reports of the Marmaray project, a soon-to-be-completed rail line extending underneath the Bosphorus with a tunnel and connecting the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, had described a third bridge as unnecessary.

Sarıyer on the European side is one of the places rumoured to be considered as a location for the bridge.

Speaking for the neighbourhood of Kazım Karabekir Paşa in Sarıyer, Hüseyin Yaman said that many of them had been settled in the area years ago as workers in factories founded there, but that they were now being denounced as land occupiers by the bridge project.

Nilay Koç spoke for the Bosphorus Environment Culture and Solidarity Foundation (BOÇEV), emphasising that another bridge would not solve the notorious traffic problems of Istanbul, but that public transport needed to be supported more.

Other representatives of NGOs also expressed their opposition to the project. The bridge is planned to be built further to the north of city, and would cut into vital greenbelt land. The bridge would undoubtedly lead to more construction of roads and residences in the area, threatening the water dams that supply the city with water.

The rally ended with a concert by folk singer İlkay Akkaya. (EZÖ/AG)

İstanbul - BIA News Center

19 July 2009, Sunday

Emine Özcan