The inauguration of the 1915 Canakkale Bridge coincides with the 107th anniversary of Ottoman forces' naval victory against British and French troops in the Gallipoli campaign during World War I.

Work on the Dardanelles bridge project was launched in March 2017, with more than 5,000 workers involved in the construction.
Work on the Dardanelles bridge project was launched in March 2017, with more than 5,000 workers involved in the construction. (AFP)

Türkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has opened the world's longest suspension bridge over the Dardanelles Strait — which cuts travel time between Asia and Europe to six minutes.

The $2.8-billion "1915 Canakkale Bridge" built by a consortium of Turkish and South Korean companies has a main span of 2.023 kilometres between its towers, painted in the red and white colours of Türkiye's flag.

It is longer than the previous record-holder, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan.

Erdogan has launched many mega infrastructure projects, including a third bridge over the Bosphorus, throughout his two-decade run as prime minister and then president.

The president is also planning to build a canal in Istanbul  — an alternative to the Bosphorus.

READ MORE: The significance of Türkiye's new ‘1915 Canakkale Bridge’

Canakkale victory anniversary 

The inauguration coincides with the 107th anniversary of Ottoman forces' naval victory against British and French troops in the Gallipoli campaign during World War I.

In his speech, Erdogan said the bridge would "keep alive the memory of Dardanelle martyrs."

Earlier in the day, Erdogan has commemorated the soldiers killed during the campaign, saying that the Battle of Gallipoli was a "testimony to the bravery of our nation."

Pointing out that the victory in Canakkale is significant not only for Türkiye but also for far-flung regions of the Balkans, Middle East, and other places, Erdogan said, "Canakkale expresses our shared fellowship."

Tens of thousands of soldiers died in one of the world's most ferocious battles 106 years ago, in the Gallipoli campaign in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

Britain and France wanted to secure their ally Russia, as the Gallipoli Peninsula provides a sea route to what was then the Russian Empire.

Their aim was to capture Istanbul, then-capital of the Ottomans.

Türkiye repelled a naval attack, and there were thousands of casualties on both sides during the eight-month offensive.

When the land campaign also failed, the invading forces withdrew.

Victory against the allied forces boosted the morale of Türkiye's side, which then went on to wage a war of independence in 1919-1922, and eventually formed a republic in 1923.

READ MORE: Türkiye: a veteran nation of Gallipoli

READ MORE: Türkiye opens an underwater park featuring submerged World War I ships

Source: TRTWorld and agencies