Ankara-Istanbul high-speed railway inauguration delayed by ‘sabotage’
Over the past few weeks, around 200 signalization and communication cables, along with 70 rail circuits, have been cut at 60 points of the line, the statement said. AA PhotoThe long-awaited inauguration of the high-speed railway that will connect Ankara and Istanbul has been postponed to June due to a series of sabotages against the cable networks, the Transport Ministry has announced.
Over the past few weeks, around 200 signalization and communication cables, along with 70 rail circuits, have been cut at 60 points of the line, which was scheduled to open in the second half of May, according to the ministry’s statement.
“The rupture of cables and rail connection circuits has directly affected tests and certification processes. Therefore, the inauguration of the line has been moved to June to avoid any malfunctions,” it stated.
The 533-kilometer line - which will reduce the overall journey between Istanbul and Ankara to three hours, with trains reaching 250 kmh - is also expected to raise the share of people taking the Istanbul-Ankara journey by rail to 78 percent, from the current 10 percent.
“[The cutting of the cables] has gone beyond simple stealing incidents and has become a systematic sabotage. Governorships have moved to find the perpetrators, criminal complaints have been submitted to prosecutors and the gendarmerie and police have initiated necessary inquests,” read the statement.
“These sabotages are perceived as a betrayal to our 77 million citizens, who have been awaiting this project for years,” it added.
The first section of the route, Ankara-Eskişehir high-speed railway line, was inaugurated in 2009. The route is also planned to be linked to the Marmaray, the rail tunnel project that connects the European and Asian sides of Istanbul.