Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway to be as big as TANAP, says Azeri minister
Deniz Çiyan ISTANBULThe Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway (TASIM), which aims to create a transnational fiber-optic backbone by linking Frankfurt to Hong Kong, will be at least as important as the $10 billion Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Project (TANAP), Azerbaijan’s communication and information technologies minister has said.
“When TASIM will be [fully] realized, it will be as important as TANAP,” Professor Dr. Ali Abbasov, minister of communication and information technologies, told the Hürriyet Daily News during a visit to Istanbul, where he chaired the opening session of the 18th Eurasia Economic Forum organized by the Marmara Group Foundation.
TASIM is slated to become a major new transit fiber-optic route from Frankfurt to Hong Kong, which will pass through China, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey all the way to Germany. A redundancy Northern Route passing through Russia, Ukraine and Poland is also being considered.
The TANAP project, whose groundbreaking ceremony took place in the northeastern province of Kars on March 17, will pipe Azeri gas from the Shah Deniz II field in the Caspian Sea, one of the world’s largest gas fields, to Western markets.
Mentioning the inter-state agreement signed between the two countries aiming to enhance cooperation in the fields of science, technology, industry and entrepreneurship with Turkey’s Science, Industry and Technology Ministry, Abbasov said they were aiming at building a new relation between the two countries based on communications and information technologies.
“Today Azerbaijan and Turkey are trying to form a relationship apart from oil and natural gas, which is communications,” said Abbasov, adding that the two states were trying to build a business environment in which businessmen would be exempt from taxes and customs procedures.
Abbasov said Turkey and Azerbaijan had a joint project to make the two countries’ markets available for one another’s businessmen and entrepreneurs and open the way for these companies to expand their trade to the world via exports.
“Apart from the energy and transportation means for Turkey and Azerbaijan as a bridge between Europe and Asia, now there will be the communications and information technology means,” he said.
Stating Turkey and Azerbaijan’s growing importance in the region, which also attracts the region’s surrounding countries to pay attention to the same issues; Abbasov said the Marmara Group Foundation was one of the most important factors of the economically development of Eurasia.
Azerbaijan adopted the Baku Declaration in 2008 to launch TASIM, which was later adopted at the 64th session of the U.N. General Assembly in 2009.
The TASIM project has two stages. The first stage consists of key regional countries and operators to build major transit and transport infrastructure in order to connect the east and the west. In the second stage, TASIM will use established transit infrastructure to provide Eurasian countries that do not have direct access to the open sea, including Central Asia, with Internet connection at affordable rates.