Deal for first phase of İzmir fast train signed

Deal for first phase of İzmir fast train signed

ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Deal for first phase of İzmir fast train signed

Binali Yıldırım. AA photo

Turkey’s Forest and Waterworks Minister Veysel Eroğlu attended the signing of the 287 kilometer Ankara-Afyonkarahisar high speed rail project yesterday. This is the first phase of the larger İzmir-Ankara high speed rail project.

Eroğlu said he was proud of the transportation ministry’s support and efforts and thanked Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım for making the project a reality at the signing ceremony.

“In the past we used to spend an eternity on the road,” he said, recalling his university days when it took him 12, 15 or 17 hours to get from Afyonkarahisar to Istanbul. According to Eroğlu, he used to spend hours stuck behind a truck in heavy traffic.

Turkey’s rail system, which was conceived during the Ottoman period, was neglected after the initial impetus in the Republican period, Eroğlu said.

“As a government we support the country’s rail system. Our rail system is our pride,” Eroğlu said.

Afyonkarahisar, a western Anatolian province, is one of the world’s new hubs of thermal tourism, according to Eroğlu, and has taken its place as an important center for health and congress tourism as well. In terms of the number of five star hotels, it ranks fourth in Turkey, according to Eroğlu. The new Zafer Airport in Afyonkarahisar is scheduled to open on October 29, according to Eroğlu, and will facilitate the province’s thermal tourism.

“I believe the infrastructure for the rail line will be completed shortly,” said Eroğlu. “We are going to connect the Ankara castle with the Afyonkarahisar castle.”

After the rail line is complete, the commute time between Ankara and İzmir will drop to three hours and 30 minutes, which is a huge improvement from the current eight to nine hours, said Eroğlu.

Time is precious and Turkey needs to connect all of its cities by rail as soon as possible, Eroğlu said.

“We are going to integrate Turkey with the world. Turkey is going to be the apple of the world’s eye.

We are ready for Turkey’s 2023 targets,” said Eroğlu.

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