Istanbul mayor says government should prove Canal Istanbul will reduce ‘sea snot’

The marine mucilage threatening the Marmara Sea near Istanbul is a serious threat that needs to be addressed with science, not unproven theories, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said on Tuesday.

İmamoğlu was responding to claims made at the weekend by Turkish Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu that Canal Istanbul would reduce the ‘sea snot’.

“He must have dreamt it in the evening and something like this came to his mind in the morning,” İmamoğlu said, Dikens news website reported.

“State officials should speak based on science. Is there an article or research published that supports this idea?” If so, the minister should send it over, he said.

The Turkish government’s record on the environment and plans to proceed with construction of the multi-billion-dollar Canal Istanbul later this month have become major points of domestic political contention. Large numbers of fish and other species are dying from suffocation due to the outbreak of the sea snot in the Marmara Sea, which connects the Black Sea to the Aegean.

The government has rolled out an action plan to target the marine mucilage and has begun clearance efforts.

“When the Canal Istanbul project is completed, the rivers flowing into the Black Sea will mix with the Marmara Sea. This will increase the water quality in the Marmara and will reduce the sea snot,” Karaismailoğlu said in an interview with 24TV on Sunday.


Turkish Environment and Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum said at the weekend that the country would form a scientific committee to help with the battle against the thick, slimy substance.

Karaismailoğlu’s claims have no basis in science, said Ahmet Cemal Saydam, a marine scientist, Diken reported.