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Expatriate Health Insurance News: New tunnel links Europe and Asia

Expatriates living in Istanbul now have an easier way to travel between the European and Asian sides of the Turkish city: the Marmaray Tunnel.

This 8.5-mile long rail link is the first of its kind to link two continents together and will ease the congestion on the existing bridges crossing the Bosporus, reports the Telegraph.

Running underneath the strait, the tunnel will not only be beneficial for the 16 million people who live in Istanbul, but presents opportunities for intercontinental travel in future.

The Chinese government is in the planning stages for a high speed network to connect numerous parts of Asia, making the possibility of travelling by rail from London to Beijing a real prospect moving forward.

Already the property prices in Istanbul have reacted to the change, with increases evident since the scheme was originally announced in 2004.

Turkey is keen to attract more foreign buyers and in May last year relaxed its property laws for expats, leading to a doubling in numbers in the first half of 2013.

Julian Walker, director at Spot Blue International Property, told the news provider: "In areas with stations along the route of the Marmaray project, property prices have already increased on the back of the imminent improved transport links – just as areas of London are already benefiting from the Crossrail project."

Businesses are also taking notice of the changes with the tunnel proving Turkey's commitment to overhauling Istanbul's infrastructure.

More international firms are establishing a presence in the city and young professionals are enjoying the lifestyle it offers.

Leigh Turner, the consul general and director general of UK Trade and Investment in Central Asia and South Caucasus, said: "We have seen a steady flow of UK companies in recent months attracted by the continued strong growth of the Turkish economy – growing at an annual rate of 3.7 per cent in the first half of 2013."

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