BTK railway to further strengthen Baku-Ankara ties

BTK railway to further strengthen Baku-Ankara ties”

The presidents of Turkey and Azerbaijan and the prime ministers of Georgia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan attended a ceremony at the Port of Baku on October 30 to dispatch an inaugural freight train on the Baku - Tbilisi - Kars corridor.

While the line offers a shorter route for transporting Chinese goods to Europe by rail, "the competition is really tough", said Akif Mustafayev, the permanent representative in Azerbaijan of the intergovernmental commission of Traceca, an EU-backed transport programme. Drawing attention to the cooperation in politics, military, defense, energy and tourism with Azerbaijan, Erdoğan said: "The continuous energy partnership between Turkey and Azerbaijan strengthening with the addition of new pipelines demonstrate the durability and sustainability of this cooperation", referring to the ongoing Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project, which will be operational in 2018, and start delivering gas from Azerbaijan to Europe in 2020.

The Republic of Azerbaijan, located at the strategic crossroads of Europe and Asia and nearby sizeable markets such as Turkey, China, Iran and Russian Federation, is poised to become the top choice for foreign investors aiming to expand their business in the region.

A railway connecting Gyumri, Armenia, and Kars in Turkey is another victim of the long freeze in Turkish-Armenian ties.

The governments of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey agreed to build BTK in 2007 after talking it over for 15 years. "It's planned to carry 5 million tons of cargo in the first stage and 17 million tons in the next stage", stated Azerbaijan's President Aliyev.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway will further strengthen Azerbaijani-Turkish relations, Erdem Eren, Turkish foreign policy expert and chief coordinator of the Beyaz Harekat political movement, told Trend Oct. 31.

Regional experts believe that BTK is emerging New Silk Road network of trade and transport corridors that are coming together between China and Europe.

"The volume of Azerbaijani investment in the Turkish economy reaches $20 billion and its amount is expected to increase", he said.

Ilham Aliyev said that today the Turkey-Azerbaijan friendship, brotherhood and unity is an important factor for the region and plays a stabilizing role in the region.

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