Baku-Tiflis-Kars railway to be finalized by end of 2016, says Turkish FM
AFP photoThe Baku-Tiflis-Kars (BTK) railway, which connects three countries, will be finalized by the end of this year, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Feb. 19.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Janelidze and Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mаmmаdyarov in Tbilisi on Feb. 19, Çavuşoğlu said obstacles blocking trade development in the region would be “overcome with the completion of the BTK railway project by the end of this year,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Çavuşoğlu said London would be connected to Beijing within the scope of this project.
The foreign ministers of Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan have “highlighted the key role of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway in facilitating competitive transportation between Asia and Europe, noted with content the successful testing of the Georgian section of the railway in 2015 and reiterated the utmost importance of the earliest start of operation of the BTK railway,” read the joint statement issued after the Fifth Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the three countries, which was held in Tbilisi, on Feb. 19.
“In this regard, we welcomed the fruitful consultations at the trilateral ministerial meeting of the BTK railway Coordination Council held in Tbilisi on Feb. 12, 2016,” continued the statement.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being built in accordance with an intergovernmental agreement reached by Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. The railway is expected to increase the flow of containers and other types of cargo from Asia to Europe. Its throughput capacity will peak at 17 million tons of cargo per year, the partnering countries announced in 2013. Initially, the capacity will be 6.5 million tons of consignments and one million passengers.