The 3rd Istanbul Bridge in 10 Questions

1. Can a third bridge solve the traffic problem that the two that are already built could not?

Bridges do not solve traffic problems. They create their own. Because they carry vehicles not passengers. Within a year of the 1st bridge being built, the passenger numbers went up by 4%, while vehicle numbers went up by 200%. The same statistics since the day the 2nd bridge has opened are: +170% for passengers and +1180% for vehicles.

2. Can using the third bridge as a by-pass route reduce the traffic in Istanbul?

This reason for the project is not justified. Transit traffic that goes through the two existing bridges is only 2-3% of the total traffic.

3. What is the cause of the unbearable traffic on the bridges?

The key reason is the lack of investment in public transport. The public transport vehicles that carry 63% of the passengers across the bridges make up 10% of the vehicle flow, 90% of the flow is made up by private vehicle carrying 37% of passengers.

4. Will the 3rd bridge affect only those living in Sariyer  and Beykoz neighbourhoods?

The 3rd bridge will open the north of Istanbul to development and increase in population in an unplanned and uncontrolled way.

5.  How will the 3rd bridge affect the people of Istanbul?

The 3rd bridge will cause irreversible damage to the last remaining natural areas around Istanbul (located to the north of the city). 2 million trees will be cut down during the construction. This will threaten 1/3rd of the city’s forests with disappearance. This will increase the flood risk, pollution of the water catchment, increase in erosion and hence siltation in the dams which will reduce the water that can be stored in the dams. Many forester villagers will loose their livelihood. Air pollution will increase. Wild life will be damaged.

6. Will the 3rd bridge affect Istanbul alone?

3rd bridge is a part of the Northern motorway project that will affect the entire Marmara region. The motorway will damage agricultural land and water catchment in both sides of the Bosphorous.

7. Who is gaining from the 3rd bridge?

Large construction companies, land speculators, banks, petrol companies, automotive companies. The new urban development law that grants extraordinary powers will also allow the demolishing of 250,000 buildings. The land along the route of the bridge is changing hands, being purchased by large land holders.

8. Is there a scientist that defends the 3rd bridge?

No technical expert, scientific institution or professional association has yet stated that the bridge is necessary for Istanbul. In the contrary, its damages are proven. The 3rd bridge is described as a threat even in the urbanisation plan prepared by the Metropolitan Council of Istanbul.

9. What should be done to solve the traffic problem, instead of the 3rd bridge?

A more balanced population distribution between the two sides of the Bosphorous. The quality of public sector should be improved and the need for private car use should be reduced. The sea transport which is currently a small proportion of the city transport, can be improved to become the fast, efficient, comfortable and low cost alternative that it can become.

10. So why is this persistence to build the 3rd bridge?

The 3rd bridge is planned to serve the new city planned to the north of Istanbul, the 3rd airport and Canal Istanbul projects. It is a rent-generating project. It is not a transport project.

For a campaign:

The above in Turkish:

3 kopru 2


Photographs of the construction:


Note: the image with 10 questions is taken from facebook. This is not a source we use generally. But we’ve done some research and these points tally with statements made by others.

6 thoughts on “The 3rd Istanbul Bridge in 10 Questions

  1. Pingback: Hope and anger fuel resistance against Istanbul’s third bridge | ROAR Magazine

  2. Pingback: Hope and anger fuel protest against Istanbul’s third bridge

  3. Pingback: Hope and anger fuel protest against Istanbul’s third bridge « WORDVIRUS

  4. This is just bullshit, a bridge is always useful for transportation.
    I live in a small city of about 150k inhabitant in the netherlands (Nijmegen). The city is linked by 5 large bridges (2 by 2 lanes) and they are building a sixth bridge !
    with more than 12 millions istanbul is almost 100 time more populated and it has only 2 bridges !

    • The argument is not bridge vs no bridge. It’s to ensure that the right decision is made based on evidence. Anecdotal comparison like you give is hardly evidence. We needed to know whether costs of the bridge (not just money but environmental destruction and opening more areas to development which will only increase the need for further bridges and traffic) outweigh benefits (for a limited time of relief). Continuing to build bridges or roads in general without doing anything to reduce private car use is like continually taking aspirin to relieve the headache caused by a brain tumor.

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