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Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway promising economic development of Turkic world


Turkish Transport and Infrastructure Minister Abdulkadir Uraloğlu attended the 7th Transport Ministers Meeting of the Organisation of Turkish States (OTS) held in Zangilan, Azerbaijan.

Uraloğlu gave a speech and noted that OTS countries are a community that has the potential to become a global power with a young and dynamic population of 160 million and an economic size exceeding 1 trillion dollars.

“In order to realise this great potential, we must increase our common power with the will of cooperation and solidarity,” he said.

Talking about Turkiye’s investments and efforts in the field of transportation, Uraloğlu noted that they aim to increase the capacity of the Central Corridor passing through the countries with enormous investments.

“We should not allow these problems, especially transition documents, to hinder trade between OTS countries. In order to remove obstacles to transportation and trade and reduce transportation costs, we must adopt and implement a holistic approach within the organisation that will be in our common interest. In this regard, we should liberalise transportation between our friendly countries, and for this purpose, we need to abolish bilateral and transit land pass document quotas,” the minister said.

Emphasising that the Combined Transportation Agreement signed within the organisation should come into force as soon as possible, Uraloğlu said, “When we implement the agreement, we will significantly encourage combined transportation operations and Caspian crossings, and we will significantly increase the share of the Caspian East-West Central Corridor, which we all attach importance to, in Eurasian transportation.”

Uraloğlu pointed out that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway is of great importance for the economic development and welfare of the Turkic world.

“We need to complete the necessary work on this route as soon as possible. Besides, we should also focus on making the Caspian crossing, which is another important component of the Central Corridor, effective, efficient, and economical for the countries in the region. High tolls and irregular flights, which pose a problem in logistics operations. I am confident that we will quickly resolve these issues with our joint efforts and turn the Caspian crossings into the competitive route we desire.”

Talking about the Zengazur Corridor, which will connect the western provinces of Azerbaijan with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Uraloğlu said that the corridor is of vital importance for the normalisation of the situation in the South Caucasus. The realisation of this connection, which will provide direct railway and road transportation between Turkiye and Azerbaijan, will connect the entire Turkic world.

“I believe that it will be an important step that will connect the region. We are working very closely with Azerbaijan to complete this route as soon as possible with its connections, which will benefit all the countries in the region,” he said.

Uraloğlu listed the things that need to be done for the common economic development of OTS countries and increasing the welfare of the people as follows:

“We should act in a manner that facilitates and encourages trade between our countries, rather than making it difficult. As a country that attaches great importance to digitalization in transportation, we are ready to share our experience with member countries. We need to popularize the Electronic Pass Document System. A small part of the cargo going from China to Europe passes through the Middle Corridor. There are opportunities and tasks before us to increase this rate much higher with a broad vision. However, in order to realise this, we must not have a competitive approach. The trade volume between Asia and Europe is much higher than the land transportation capacity that we can provide on land, ” the minister said.

About Fidan Abdullayeva