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Turkey detains 10 ex-navy officers over criticism of Istanbul Canal project

A real estate advertising offers apartments with the view on the canal, in the small coastal village of Karaburun, near Istanbul, on June 12, 2018 [YASIN AKGUL/AFP via Getty Images]
A real estate advertising offers apartments with the view on the canal, in the small coastal village of Karaburun, near Istanbul, on June 12, 2018 [YASIN AKGUL/AFP via Getty Images]

Turkish security forces arrested on Monday 10 former senior navy officers for openly criticising Ankara's plan to build a new waterway from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean parallel to the existing Bosphorus strait known as the "Istanbul Canal."

The Turkish Public Prosecution said in a statement that the officers will be investigated on charges of "agreement to commit crimes against the state's security and the constitutional order."

The statement noted that in addition to the 10 detained admirals, four others had been asked to report to police stations in Ankara within three days since the prosecutor opted not to detain them due to their age.

Earlier on Saturday, as many as 103 retired navy admirals signed an open letter warning that the proposed canal could harm Turkish security by invalidating the 85-year-old Montreux international treaty designed to prevent the militarisation of the Black Sea.

The 45-kilometre Istanbul Canal described by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as "the crazy project" aims to ease heavy traffic and reduce the risk of accidents in the existing strait.

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