Transportation projects to bolster trade relations
MERSİN - Anatolia News Agency
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (L) and Turkey’s Economy Miniter Zafer Çağlayan speak the meeting. DHA photoTurkey seeks to strengthen its economic position in the region by reinforcing its transportation network, particularly its railroad projects, which have been neglected, the economy minister has said.
“Even less than 1 percent of Turkish exports are undertaken by railway transportation, so our investments in railroads are crucial,” Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said March 16 at the Konya-Karaman-Mersin Logistic Meeting held in the southern Turkish province of Mersin, also attended by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
The share of transportation and communication sectors within Turkey’s GDP rose to 15 percent thanks to $75 billion spent on the development of infrastructure last year, according to figures provided by the minister.
Within the $151 billion of exports Turkey completed last year, $78 billion were undertaken by sea, $50 billion by land roads and $22 billion by air. However, the amount of exports carried by trains remained at around $1 billion, which is less than 1 percent of the total amount.
Turkish State Railways (TCDD) announced last week its plans to invest more than 20 billion Turkish Liras over the next three years, as attempts to open up Turkish railways to private sector involvement speed up.A draft law presented to Parliament late on March 6 aims to empower third parties to build their own railway infrastructure and to become infrastructure operators on these railways.
The minister said this code liberalizing Turkish railways is a historic step for private involvement. Turkey has geared up its attempts to boost its search for new energy resources with an increasing number of energy projects, which has been depicted by the government as the fundamental way to eliminate Turkey’s chronic import-dependency.
Mersin port to boost
During the meeting both Çağlayan and Davutoğlu focused on transportation projects as another path to follow in the context of trade deficit-elimination efforts.“Turkey is country where $130 billion will be invested in energy projects, while $110 billion will be invested in logistics projects,” Çağlayan said.
Meanwhile Davutoğlu also underlined the importance of Turkish ports and denounced that Turkey aims to become the leading country in energy and transportation issues in the Mediterranean Sea and Mersin Port will be the hub for that goal.“Mersin is already the biggest port in the eastern Mediterranean, but the goal is to make it the largest in the entire Mediterranean.”