President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his wife Emine Erdoğan, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and his wife Mihriban Aliyeva, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakitcan Sagintayev, Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov, and Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili attended the opening ceremony of the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku Railway.
President Erdoğan made a speech at the ceremony and said, “We are taking a very important step for our future, way beyond the era we live in. We are connecting one of the rings of the new Silk Road initiative, which has been launched with the aim of linking Asia, Europe and Africa. The first train hitting the tracks of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway marks the completion of the most important step of the middle corridor project. On this occasion, we announce the establishment of an uninterrupted rail line from London to China. This project, which is the result of our commitment and vision, is the success of all of us.”
Underlining Turkey’s determination to realize this potential with the investments made especially in the last 15 years, Erdoğan stated:
“To date, we have provided many services as complementary to the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project, including the construction of the Marmaray high-speed rail lines, the renovation of existing rail lines, and the third bridge with a railway crossing, which we built in Istanbul. These investments will further increase the efficiency and attractiveness of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.
With the Alat port of Azerbaijan, we are connecting not only 3 countries but all Central Asian Republics to the transport routes of the West. In the same way, we are linking Turkmenistan via the Turkmenbashi Port and Kazakhstan via Aktau Port to Europe. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will have a capacity of 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo.”
Noting that the capacity of the line will reach 3 million passengers and 17 million tons of cargo by 2034, President Erdogan pointed out that this will substantially reduce the costs in freight transport. Underlining that such a line will not bring an economic advantage to the region, he said it will also bring peace, security, stability and social welfare, and contribute to the human development of our countries through cargo and human mobility as well as information mobility. The leaders traveled to the Alat Station in 12 minutes by train coming from Kazakhstan, and drove nails in the tracks while switching.