First Baku-Tbilisi-Kars train departs from Turkey’s Mersin
MERSIN – Anadolu Agency
The first train to run from Turkey to Azerbaijan on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway departed from the Turkish southern port city of Mersin on Nov. 29.
The train, consisting of 16 wagons and 32 containers, was loaded with 650 tons of agricultural products and ceramic adhesive. It will cover a distance of 2,100 kilometers (1,304 miles) to reach Azerbaijan’s capital Baku.
The first trip was launched with an inauguration ceremony on Oct. 30 in Baku, which was attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.
The train reached Mersin on Nov. 4, making its first stop at the northeastern province of Kars and covering 1,258 kilometers in 30 hours.
The 826-kilometer Baku-Tiblisi-Kars railway project was launched in 2007 and its construction began in 2008.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway built a significant bridge between Turkey, China and Europe, Veysi Kurt, head of Turkish State Railways (TCDD) Transportation Inc. had said.
“We plan to get the train back to Baku in 75-80 hours. This is an important timeframe. It is important to transmit shipment to Baku from Mersin in this time slot for our exporters and industrialists,” he said.
“We aim to reach Turkmenistan in 100 hours and Kazakhstan’s capital city of Astana in 180 hours,” Kurt added.
He said the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars corridor is essential as it connects China and Europe via Turkey and provides advantage of time, climate and cost.