Turkey creates a massive bridge connecting Europe and Asia

A massive suspension bridge was inaugurated Friday by the president of Turkey,

Turkey creates a massive bridge connecting Europe and Asia

South Korea's Prime Minister and other officials. It crosses the Dardanelles Strait and connects the Asian and European shores of the important waterway.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdan said that the "1915 Canakkale Bridge" has a span of 2,023 meters (6,637 feet), which makes it the longest suspension bridge in the world.

It connects Gelibolu on Turkey's European side with Lapseki, on the Asian side. According to the president, travelers can cross the Dardanelles in six minutes instead of the 1 1/2 hour ferry ride.

Erdogan stated during the inauguration ceremony that Turkey had overtaken Japan as the longest bridge in the world, in terms of its midspan.

The inauguration coincided with the 107th anniversary Turkey's World War I naval win over a combined British and French fleet attacking Dardanelles. After the failed naval campaign, the allies of Britain and France with troops from Australia or New Zealand made the disastrous 1915 landings at Gallipoli.

In reference to the Canakkale's historical battlefields, Kim Boo-kyum, South Korean Prime Minister, stated that the 1915 Canakkale Bridge would leave behind a history of conflict and collision.

Kim stated that the bridge was built by a consortium of Turkish-South Korean companies and will strengthen the bonds between Turkey, South Korea and each other.

Erdogan stated that the "1915 Canakkale Bridge" was built at a cost of 2.5 billion euros ($2.7billion). However, Turkey will be able to save 415 million euros per year through a reduction in fuel consumption and carbon emission. The bridge's cost will be 200 Turkish Lira ($13.60).

The architecture of the bridge is rich in symbolism. Erdogan stated that the bridge's central span, which measures 2,023 meters (6.637 feet), is to commemorate 2023, the year Turkey marks the centenary since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The bridge's towers are 318m (1,043ft) high -- an allusion to March 18, or 3/18, when Turkey remembers the Gallipoli land and sea battles.

The World War I Gallipoli campaign was designed to secure a route for naval vessels from the Mediterranean Sea through the Dardanelles to Istanbul, and to extricate the Ottoman Empire from the conflict. The Gallipoli landings on April 25, 1915 marked the beginning of a long battle that lasted eight months. The fighting saw the deaths of around 44,000 Allied soldiers and 86,000 Ottoman soldiers.


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