Turkey expects the first branch of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway to be commissioned in early 2017, Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications of Turkey Ahmet Arslan said in an exclusive interview with Trend.
He said that the second branch of the BTK railway will be commissioned during 2017.
"The BTK project is on the last stage of its implementation," the minister said.
Arslan added that the BTK is a very important project for both Azerbaijan and Turkey.
"The BTK will connect Azerbaijan and Turkey with a continuous railway," he noted. "This project is also important because it will contribute to the development of the economy and trade of Azerbaijan and Turkey with the countries of the region. Cargo from Azerbaijan will be delivered via Turkey to Europe thanks to this project."
"Also, the cargo from European countries will be delivered to the countries of Central Asia and China through the Baku International Sea Trade Port, which is under construction," the Turkish minister said. "This project will also positively affect the development of relations of our countries with other countries of the region."
"Other countries, such as China, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Georgia also need this project, as well as Europe does," Arslan said.
The BTK railway is being constructed on the basis of the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement.
The peak capacity of the railway will be 17 million tons of cargo per year. At the initial stage, this figure will be one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo.
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