First Published: 2017-03-18

Turkey starts building 'world's longest suspension bridge'
Work begins on constructing 2,023 metre bridge spanning Dardanelles strait between Europe, Asia.
Middle East Online

Dardanelles occupies near mythical place in world history

ISTANBUL - Turkey on Saturday started work on building what it says will be the world's longest suspension bridge, spanning the Dardanelles strait that divides Europe and Asia.

The bridge is the latest in a succession of massively ambitious infrastructure projects championed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the launch of the project comes a month ahead of a referendum on expanding his powers.

Authorities expect that work on the bridge will be completed in 2023, the year that Turkey celebrates the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the modern republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Appropriately, the span of the bridge is to be 2,023 metres (6,637 feet).

This will make it the longest suspension bridge in the world, overtaking the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan which is just under 2,000 metres long, state media said.

The ground breaking ceremony was attended by Erdogan on the Asian side and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on the European side of the site.

"The bridge will be the number one in the world. It will connect Europe and Asia," said Erdogan.

The bridge is being built by a four way consortium of Turkish firms Limak and Yapi Merkezi and Daelim and SK of South Korea.

The ceremony was attended by South Korean Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Ho-in Kang.

The bridge will also be the first ever permanent structure to span the Dardanelles -- known as the Hellespont in the ancient world -- which occupy a near mythical place in world history.

Persian king Xerxes is said by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus to have build pontoon bridges across the Hellespont to transport his troops from Asia into Thrace in a campaign of 480 BC.

British romantic poet Lord Byron famously swam across the Hellespont in 1810, a feat repeated by ambitious modern-day swimmers in an annual race.

The area is hugely important to Turks as where Ottoman forces resisted an 1915 invasion by British, Australian and other Allied forces in World War I, known in the West as the Gallipoli campaign.

The resistance of the Ottoman forces is seen as their greatest hour in a war the declining empire lost, and is commemorated with increasing fervour in modern Turkey.

In recognition of this, the bridge will be known as the Canakkale 1915 bridge after the year and the Turkish province where it is located.

Over the last year, Erdogan has opened the first road tunnel underneath the Bosphorus and the third bridge across the Istanbul strait.

 

Israel kills three in attack on pro-regime Syria camp

Iran's historically unpredictable elections

France votes under heavy security

US Defense Secretary Mattis visits strategic Djibouti

Satellite dishes sprout in post-IS east Mosul

Iran reverses decision to ban live presidential debates

Six Israelis including two soldiers held for anti-Arab attacks

Economists, rights advocates concerned over Egypt’s state of emergency

Qatari hunters ecstatic at release from Iraqi kidnappers

Prosecutor says charities colluding with migrant traffickers

Iran's Ahmadinejad won't endorse other candidates

Rocky days ahead after Turkey referendum

Huge Shiite crowd throngs Baghdad shrine

Rabat accuses Algiers of expelling 55 migrants across border

Morocco, US take part in joint military exercise

US defence secretary visits key ally Qatar

Lebanese activists ramp up campaign against rape law

Saudis among kidnapped hunters freed in Iraq

Trial in Tunisia beach massacre set to begin April 26

Tunisia hotel attacked by jihadists sees hope in 'rebirth'

IS claims deadly attack on FSB office in Russia

Spate of attacks shows weakening of Islamic State

Mediterranean migrant death toll tops 1,000 in 2017

Iraq forces free 11-year-old Yazidi girl in Mosul

Kuwaiti opposition leader freed from prison

Kidnapped Qataris freed in Iraq, Syria evacuations resume

Turkey opposition to appeal referendum at top court

Fears engulf French election after Paris shooting

An Iraqi family's Colombian odyssey

US defence chief in Israel for talks on Iran, Syria

Morocco arrests scandal-hit Ferrari driving 'rich kid'

Syria evacuees on move again after being blocked for 48 hours

French policeman killed in IS attack in Paris

Trump: Iran not 'living up to spirit' of nuclear deal

Ahmadinejad barred from running in election

US urges UN council to focus on 'incredibly destructive' Iran

Iran bans live election debates

UN, Russia set for Syria meet without US

Suicide bombers at Syria transit site 'disguised' as aid workers

Moscow bid for new Syria attack probe rejected

Iraq summons Turkish envoy over Erdogan interview

Erdogan revives death penalty debate in Turkey

Thousands protest unemployment in Tunisia

Israel occupation forces fire at Palestinian protesters

Saudi Arabia malls to hire only locals