The European Investment Bank (EIB) is to provide €200 million to Turkey to support efforts to strengthen Istanbul’s resilience to earthquakes.

The EIB funds are being provided in the framework of the Istanbul Seismic Risk Mitigation and Emergency Preparedness Project, launched in 2006.

It is designed to be a proactive approach to managing earthquake risks through prevention and mitigation, with the hindsight of the catastrophic Marmara earthquake in 1999.

The funding agreement was signed on the day of the Marmaray Tunnel inauguration ceremony – the opening of a new rail tunnel under the Bospohorus linking Istanbul’s European and Asian side.

The 13.6km Marmaray Tunnel runs 1.4km under water and is the world's first connecting two continents. It cost €3.9 billion to build and was designed to withstand earthquakes.

EIB president Werner Hoyer said the EIB provided a total of € 1.05 billion to support the project, which will link up with a planned high-speed rail corridor in the country.

“Today, we are also signing a second loan to further support the resilience to earthquakes of this historic city, helping to create a safe urban environment for the people of Istanbul,” he added.

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