Turkey will soon initiate the project of artificial sea-level waterway Canal Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.

“We will initiate Canal Istanbul as soon as possible with a tender,” Erdogan told a meeting on social project of 100,000 houses for low-income people in capital Ankara.

Erdogan added it is a “project to protect the Bosphorus from a serious disaster.”

The planned canal is meant to provide relief to shipping traffic between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, particularly oil tanker traffic through the Bosphorus.

It is one of Turkey’s most strategic mega projects, and plans

Read more: Turkey to start Canal Istanbul project ‘soon’: Erdogan