Turkish PM thanks Georgian PM for contribution to Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway

Aaron Brown
November 1, 2017

The inauguration at the Port of Baku in Alat, Azerbaijan was attended by Azerbaijan president Ilham Aliyev, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Kazakhstan's prime minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev, prime minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Uzbekistan prime minister Abdulla Aripov. Cherishing these bilateral ties, Erdoğan said the robust partnership in politics, defense, economy, energy, trade and culture as well as the continuous communication and rapport between Turkey and Azerbaijan demonstrate the solidarity between the two countries very well. The freight train arrived at the new Port of Baku, in Alat, after traversing 2,846 km from north-western Kazakhstan and crossing the Caspian Sea on a rail ferry.

The project is planned to be operational by 2018 with an initial capacity to carry 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Azerbaijani gas through Georgia to Turkey.

While most parts of the BTK railway were modernized, a 109-kilometer-long segment running from Georgia (30 km) into Turkey (79 km) was built.

"The railway is a new Eurasian bridge, connecting not only the economies of our countries but also our citizens", Kvirikashvili said at the opening.

Around 79 kilometers of the BTK Railway pass through Turkey, while 246 kilometers pass through Georgia and 504 kilometers through Azerbaijan. Based on current cargo flows the company said it expects to re-route at least two million tonnes of existing cargo flows (principally dry cargo now transported by truck) between Turkey, the Caucasus, Russia and Central Asia.

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Initially the railway is expected to carry almost 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of freight annually before unlocking a freight transportation potential of up to 50 million tons per year.

President Erdogan and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev reviewed the guard of honor and saluted the Azerbaijani soldiers. Azerbaijan and Armenia are in an unresolved conflict over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Strengthening Turkey increases Azerbaijan's strength, noted the president.

The agreement for the construction of the BTK was signed in Tbilisi in 2007.

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