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In pictures: Turkey gets another Bosphorus bridge

Ozan Kose, AFP | Aerial shot of the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge taken on March 6, 2016.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday inaugurated Istanbul’s third bridge over the Bosphorus Strait dividing Europe and Asia, delivering on a controversial campaign promise.

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The Yavuz Sultan Selim bridge has been called an urban feat. Designed by French architect Michel Virlogeux and his Swiss partner, Jean-François Klein, the bridge is touted as the world’s widest suspension bridge.

By all accounts, Istanbul’s newest bridge across the Bosphorus is an architectural triumph. Built in the style of New York's Brooklyn Bridge, its pylons are almost as high as the Eiffel Tower and it features 10 lanes -- including two rail lines -- spanning over 1,400 metres.

But it has had its share of controversies, with opponents criticising the $3 billion bill and activists warning the new bridge will have a damaging effect on the environment, particularly a forest north of Turkey’s largest city.

The bridge's name -- that of the 16th century Ottoman sultan, Yavuz Selim, also known as Selim the Grim -- has also infuriated Turkey’s minority Alevi community, who were persecuted and massacred during his reign.

The government says the new bridge will alleviate Istanbul’s notorious traffic problems and will stimulate development around the city.

Istanbul's new bridge across the Bosphorus
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