The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway (BTK) will bring into service one of the links of the new Silk Road initiative connecting Asia, Europe and Africa, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Monday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the railway in Azerbaijan, Erdoğan said that the project has capacity to carry 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo, but the capacity will reach 3 million passengers and 17 million tons of freight by 2030.
“The line will bring peace, security, stability and prosperity, and will contribute to the development of our countries,” Erdoğan said.
Seventy-nine kilometers (49 miles) of the BTK railway passes through Turkey, 246 kilometers through Georgia and 504 kilometers through Azerbaijan.
Along with Erdoğan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Kazakh Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev and Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov were other leaders to attend first train departure ceremony
The project, which will bring vitality to the region both in terms of employment and trade, is the third largest project realized by all three countries after the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum projects in the energy sector.
The project is expected to strengthen Turkey’s economic and political ties with countries in Eurasia as it will provide an easy, less-expensive option for transportation, also enhancing Turkey’s role as a hub in the Middle Corridor.