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BTK project to affect regional economy - Turkish minister

Monday, February 9
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway construction project will have a significant impact on the economic situation in the region, Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said at a press conference in Baku Feb. 5.

“Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia attach great importance to this project as it is one of the most important in the region and designed to be a transport corridor between Europe and Asia,” he said.

The minister also said that Tbilisi will host a trilateral meeting of economic ministers of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia on March 6, and a trilateral meeting with representatives of Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey is expected to be held in Tabriz in the near future.

Afterwards, the meeting will be held in the quadripartite format (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey).

“The venue and time of the next meetings are being specified,” he said.

Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being constructed on the basis of the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement.

The State Oil Fund of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ) finances the project in accordance with the Azerbaijani president’s decree 'On the implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project activities' dated February 21, 2007.

A new 105-kilometer branch of the railroad is being constructed as part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project. In addition, the railway's Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi section is under reconstruction in Georgia that will increase its capacity to 15 million metric tons of cargo per year. A depot is under construction in Akhalkalaki for the transition of trains from the existing tracks in Georgia to the European ones.

The peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million metric tons of cargo per year. At the initial stage, this figure will be equal to one million passengers and 6.5 million metric tons of cargo. The railway is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2015.