Turkish President Erdogan, Azerbaijani President Aliyev, Georgian Premier Kvirikashvili attend inauguration ceremony of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project held in Baku
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway project — linking Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia – is a crucial step for the future, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
“The most important leg of the Middle Corridor Project to unite Europe and Asia via Anatolia is fulfilled with the first service of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway,” Erdogan said during the inauguration ceremony held in Baku along with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.
The 826-kilometer (513-mile) railway project connecting Baku with northeastern province of Kars, Turkey, via Tbilisi was launched in 2017 and construction began in 2008.
In the keynote speech, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said having launched to link Asia, Europe and Africa to each other one of the new Silk Road chains has been inaugurated.
President continued; “With the first trip of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway one of the most important legs of Middle Corridor Project has been completed. So, we have proclaimed railway network has been installed ranging from London to China. Regarding our decisiveness and vision this project is common success of all of us.”
Highlighting they had struggled for 15 years to let the project enter into force, Erdogan said; “Until today we have offered a lot of services to public in the scope of complementary of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Project. Building of Marmaray high speed train line underneath of Marmara Sea, renewing of the current train lines, third Bosporus Bridge straddled the Istanbul strait by linking Asia and Europe are some them. These investments we have achieved will increase effectiveness and attraction of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway project more. With Alat Port of Azerbaijan we have linked not only 3 countries, but also entire Central Asia Republics to West transport routes. We have also linked Turkmenistan via Turkmenbası Port, Kazakhstan via Aktau Port to Europe. Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway project will have 1 million passenger transport and 6,5 million tons freight carrying capacity.”
Indicating the passenger capacity of the line would reach 3 million and 17 million ton freight in 2034, President Erdogan recorded it would lower freight carrying cost outstandingly.
Marking after being commissioned of high speed lines the freight coming from China would reach European Union countries via Middle Corridor within 12-15 days thanks to Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway (BTK) project, Erdogan said; “The freight amount is shipped from China to Europe is over 240 million tons. Even 10 percent of this freight to be carried via middle corridor passing through our country additional 24 million tons of freight might be carried. The project will bring security and stability as politic, as social it will bring wellbeing, in addition to freight and human movement, the project will also contribute knowledge movement to humanitarian development of our countries.”
“Nobody believes us”
Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijani President, stating some circles had not believed the construction of BTK, and added; “However, the three countries showed that when a strong will and confidence happen all works can be achieved. These three countries will be also together after this and to support each other. This project will boost our economic prospects.”
Georgian Premiere Kvirikashvili in his speech said BTK has bridged Asia and Europe. With this project foundation of the new Eurasia has been laid. This line will link both economies and peoples to each other. It will contribute to boost our trade. BTK will contribute development and security of the region greatly.”
The new railway in 838 kilometers length of which 76 kilometers in Turkey, 259 kilometers in Georgia and 503 kilometers in Azerbaijani territories.