Marmaray – A $4,5 Million Project Connects Europe and Asia in Istanbul by Rail

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe photographed at the entrance of Marmaray Tunnel opening ceremony in Uskudar. Photo courtesy to Erhan Arik/ Nar Photos. October 29, 2013
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe photographed at the entrance of Marmaray Tunnel opening ceremony in Uskudar. Photo courtesy of Erhan Arik/ Nar Photos. October 29, 2013

Published Tuesday, Oct.29, 2013 8.22 p.m. (CEST)

Update Wednesday Oct.30, 2013 9.34 a.m. (CEST)

A wish to connect Europe and Asia part in Istanbul is not a new one and marks generations of history and different ideas to connect people living on both sides. As First Bosphorous Bridge dates from mid seventies and it is a revelation of old dreams of antique times to create link over two continents, new underwater railway tunnel opened Tuesday Oct.29, 2013 in Turkey emphasize the old wish.

For Huryyiet Daily News columnist Guven Sak this is “first major rail project” that is “first and foremost about Istanbul and bears huge significance”.

It is about Istanbul’s internal connectivity, explains Turkish author upon opening ceremony for the project.

“The city has up till now been a collection of many small, diverse districts or “cities”.The Maramaray is meant to connect Istanbul within itself”, writes Sak.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Turkish Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Japanese Prime minister Shinzo Abe for a moment forgot on big summer  rivalry over Olimpic Games and enjoyed opening ceremony of $4,5 billion mega project.

The Marmaray connection link is an underwater railway tunnel, named by combination of the Sea of Marmara with turkish word “ray” rail is 76-kilometer long that realization started in 2004.

Turkish and Japanese companies participated in building of the rail system that should transport one and a half million people daily in Istanbul that is the home of more than 15 million population.

Writing on the project, CNN reports that during building of  the tunnel, workers found some “40  thousand artefacts and helped archaeologists to trace Istanbul’s history back 8,500 years, 2,500 more than ever believed before”.

On his Twitter account, Turkish Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdgan marked the importance of the new connection that will commute people from European to Asian side of Istanbul in  four minutes.

Considering history of Turkey from the Ottoman times, this project is realization of dream of Sultan Abdul Mediid on October 29, 2013 when the country marked 90 years of existence of modern Turkish Republic.

A large group of people, mostly representatives of socialist parties and youth organization was prevented by the riot police in Istanbul to reach the tunnel. The tensions started before the ceremony of tunnel opening started and continued for couple of hours, during which riot police with TOMA vehicles intervened with pepper spray and water cannons.

The predominately opposition supportive Istanbul protested during the summer ideas of Turkish Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is a former mayor of this city for a construction changes in Gezi Park and Taksim Square.

The celebration of the Republic’s Day was marked symbolically with fireworks in Istanbul.

After the opening ceremony for Marmaray connection link on October 29, 2013 the commute trace started to function, temporarily interrupted by the shortage of power, or curious passengers who frequently pushed the stop buttons for the doors.

According to the media, the services stopped Wednesday, October 30, 2013 for an hour after on the section Kadikoy-Katral metro line. As reported in Hurryiet, the line is functional again, although due to the power shortages and doors malfunction, the train stopped and some passengers walked inside the metro line.

Marmaray’da ilk gün arızası!.. Vatandaşlar İstanbul Boğazı’nın altından böyle yürüdü!..

— Doğan Haber Ajansı (@dhainternet) October 30, 2013

After overcoming  initial temporarily problems with the commuter line Marmaray start to function on daily basis. Citizens differently comment on the project.

“It is also rational make the greatest investment in infrastructure in Istanbul.It earns the most”, comments Dogan Kemal Ilery under the Sak’s opinion of Maramaray, while user signed as Blue Dotterel, says that he “will continue to take ferries across the strait because the ride is far more pleasant, and will also get me where I want to go more quickly”.

Related Links:

Protests in Istanbul via

Istanbul members of Communist Party on Republic’s Day protest via NAR Photos

Marmaray Press Release in Hurryiet on first day commuter issues

Economy aspect of Marmaray


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