Afghan bikers pedal for Turkey-Afghanistan friendship
“Our relations are not just based on economics,” said Afghan Consul General in Istanbul Zakaria Barakzai after the arrival of the bikers. “Our strong cultural ties come from the past.”
Ten cyclists covered the 4,118 kilometers as part of the Turkish-Afghan Friendship Cycling Tour, which began in Afghanistan’s Harat province and ended at the World Peace Park in the Beşiktaş district of Istanbul.
The tour also aimed to revive the 2,000-year-old Lapis Lazuli corridor, an international route linking Turkey and Afghanistan via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
“History pages of Afghanistan and Turkey will always remember these ties of friendship and brotherhood,” Barakzai said and noted both countries were doing their best to improve bilateral ties.
He said the corridor would bring important gains to all countries on the route, and the first trade goods arrived in Istanbul from Afghanistan.
Named after Afghanistan’s precious gemstone, the Lapis Lazuli Route agreement was finalized after three years of talks and signed last year during the Seventh Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA VII) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.