Marking the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic, Turkey on Tuesday opened the world’s first underwater rail link between two continents, the Marmaray, connecting Asia and Europe and allowing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to fulfill a project dreamt up by Ottoman sultans more than a century ago.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Turkish and foreign dignitaries including Turkish President Abdullah Gül; Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek; Erdoğan; Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Binali Yıldırım; Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; Romanian President Victor Ponta; İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu and İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, who all delivered speeches to mark the occasion. A large crowd also attended the ceremony.

The inauguration ceremony took place in İstanbul’s Üsküdar Square on the Anatolian side.

President Abdullah Gül offered his thanks to everyone who made the completion of the Marmaray project possible.

“It is a giant engineering project. We will all be proud of this project and launch new ones,” he said.

The project aims to ease İstanbul’s heavy traffic and reduce travel time between the two sides of the Bosporus to four minutes. The Marmaray will carry 75,000 passengers per hour and around 1 million passengers per day.

In an attempt to ensure more effective use of the line and to integrate the Marmaray into the city’s public transportation system, the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality has launched new bus lines to bring passengers to the Ayrılıkçeşme, Üsküdar, Sirkeci, Yenikapı and Kazlıçeşme stations.

On Tuesday, a 13.6-kilometer section of the 76.3-kilometer project was launched. Until the project is completed, the Marmaray will run from Ayrılıkçeşme on the Anatolian side to Kazlıçeşme on the European side. see more

source: todayszaman