By Rashid Shirinov
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which was launched last week in Baku, will undoubtedly expand trade and transport possibilities of all three countries involved – Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. The railway will transport one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo at an early stage, and then its peak capacity will reach 17 million tons of cargo per year.
Commenting on the importance of the new project, a well-known Turkish expert, professor Togrul Ismail noted that the BTK railway is an important aspect in Turkish-Azerbaijani relations, and the implementation of this project will strengthen the relations between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.
“The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project is the most important component of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route and, on a more global scale, the New Silk Road project,” the expert said in interview with Day.az.
He added that except Armenia, each of the member countries will win, as well as those states that will later join the large-scale project.
“Due to its occupation policy, Armenia was left out of all regional projects and seriously weakened as a state. As a result of its aggressive policy against Azerbaijan, this country lost more than one million people and put itself in total dependence on foreign aid,” Ismail said.
Indeed, the Armenia-launched Nagorno-Karabakh war and following occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani lands became the factor that prevents the country from joining significant regional projects for more than 20 years. The conflict with Azerbaijan is still unresolved, and in addition to this, the Turkish-Armenian border is closed since early 1990s.
“Of course, until Armenia liberates Azerbaijani territories, its development and integration in the region are impossible,” said Ismail. “Armenia can join this and any other regional projects if it renounces the aggressive policy pursued for years against Azerbaijan, begins unconditional de-occupation of the Azerbaijani territories in accordance with the requirements of the UN Security Council resolutions adopted within the norms and laws of international law.”
Otherwise, the expert added, the regional powers have the right to punish Armenia by political isolation for its stubborn policy and unpreparedness for a constructive dialogue with Azerbaijan.
Today, Armenia's economy is obviously collapsing. The country's authorities are unable to fix all the existing problems, and even billions of attracted loans couldn't help the Armenian government. Despite this terrible situation, the ruling regime does not give up its occupation policy against Azerbaijan, thus leading Armenia into an even deeper swamp.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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