Railway project speeds up Turkey-China economic ties

GMT 09:32 2014 Sunday ,27 July

Arab Today, arab today Railway project speeds up Turkey-China economic ties

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Ankara - XINHUA

Economic cooperation between Turkey and China has continued to grow with Chinese firms helping finish one of the signature projects of Turkish government in connecting the capital of Ankara with the country's largest city Istanbul through the high-speed railway link.
On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated the first high-speed train linking Ankara and Istanbul as part of government's efforts to modernize country's transportation infrastructure.
The railway was built jointly by Chinese-Turkish consortium including Chinese firms of China Railway Construction Corporation, China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation and Turkish firms of Cengiz Construction and Ibrahim Cecen Ictas Construction.
The successful completion of the railway project places Chinese firms in a more solid footing in Turkish market, Idris Gursoy, analyst in Turkish capital, told Xinhua.
"It paves the way for the Chinese companies to enter into other big infrastructure projects in Turkey," he added.
Turkey and China have increased their trade and economic cooperation since both sides decided to upgrade ties to a strategic partnership in 2010.
According to the Turkish Statistics Institute, the trade volume between the two sides was 28.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, a 45 percent increase compared with 19.5 dollars in 2010.
Both governments declared an ambitious target of an annual trade volume of 50 billion dollars by 2015 and 100 billion dollars by 2020.
The General Director of Turkish State Railway Suleyman Karaman said at the 11th International Union of Railways UIC held in Istanbul in April that Turkey expects China to invest in its high speed railway connecting east and west of the country, which would constitute an important part of the modern Silk Railroad.
"We would like to build railroads with our Chinese partners in Turkey or throughout the world," Karaman said.
Turkey has already been working on railroad links such as Baku, Tbilisi, Kars railroad and Kars-Edirne projects, both will be part of the network that connects Asia to Europe.
The Edirne-Kars railway, the country's largest railway, will link the two continents through the Marmaray rail tunnel in Istanbul.
"Turkey needs to diversify its trading partners with China, the second largest economy in the world, a good partner for Turkey," he underlined.
The railway inauguration for Istanbul-Ankara line also came ahead of the presidential elections which will be held on August 10.
The government hopes that rail transportation will serve 75-80 percent of the total transit between Ankara and Istanbul, according to Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Lutfi Elvan.
The Turkish government has allocated 23.5 billion U.S. dollars for the upgrade and expansion of the country's railway network.
Another high-speed line in Turkey linked Eskisehir, Ankara and Konya was completed in 2011.

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