The lives of up to five million people may be at risk in Istanbul if an earthquake hits Kucukcekmece Dam, which is on the European side of the city, scientists have warned.
"There are 4 to 5 million people whose lives are at stake. I highly doubt that Kucukcekmece Dam will weather an earthquake properly," Naci Gorur, a geologist at Istanbul Technical University and a member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences told Demiroren News Agency (DHA).
Plans to build a canal linking the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea will put Istanbul at greater risk from earthquakes, experts added.
On Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Sazlidere Bridge, part of the Northern Marmara Highway project. Erdogan described it as the long-awaited launch of construction for the massive Kanal Istanbul project, which would cut a bypass route from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara, paralleling the Bosphorus.
Last week, a magnitude 3.9 earthquake struck Istanbul, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).