Sunday, 18 March 2018
Historical Silk Road Rises from Its Ashes

By reviving the historical Silk Road as the 'Iron Silk Road', Turkey aims to both reinforce its foreign trade relations with China and to increase its share from 75 billion-dollar transportation traffic between Europe and Asia with the continuous and safe line that it will establish.

Tagged: silk road turkey

silk_roadConsidering the global logistic map, which has changed in 21st century, increasing economic role of Asia and the rapidly growing transportation traffic between Asia and Europe, facilitating transportation on this line and creating sustainable and continuous transportation connections are among the priorities of the countries in that region. Turkey, who wants to have a say in Asia-Europe transportation corridors that have 75 billion-dollars of transportation traffic, has sped up for reviving Historical Silk Road in collaboration with China. In Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to China in April, positive steps have been taken in the meetings for reviving the historical Silk Road. With the historical Silk Road, which will be revived as "Iron Silk Road", Beijing-London railway lines will be connected.
The most important project that will inspirit historical "Silk Road" on the rails will be Kars-Tbilisi-Baku Railway Line. With this line, an economic, continuous and safe transportation will be ensured between China and Europe. The line will connect to People's Republic of China and Kazakhstan railway and will be connected to European railway line through Marmaray tunnel.
The first step for developing collaboration between Turkey and People's Republic of China for railways has been taken in 2010. A "Memorandum of Understanding" has been signed by Binali Yıldırım, the Minister of Transportation, Maritime and Communication and Chinese Minister of Railways Liu Zhijun in Beijing on July 7, 2010 and the negotiations have begun. In the negotiations held in Ankara on October 8, 2010, "Railways Collaboration Agreement between the Governments of Turkish Republic and People's Republic of China" has been signed by the ministers of both countries. Within the frame of 3rd article of this agreement; the first agreement has been signed on October 11, 2010 in Ankara between Süleyman Karaman, General Manager of TCDD (Turkish State Railways) and Yang Zhongmin, General Manager of Development and Planning Department of People's Republic of China, and secondly, "Collaboration Agreement between People's Republic of China Ministry of Railways and TR Ministry of Transportation for the Construction of Railways between Edirne and Kars" has been signed on December 7, 2010 by the ministers of both countries. The most recent agreement signed between Chinese and TCDD authorities related to this project was the Framework Agreement signed on January 25, 2011. Turkish-Chinese Collaboration Commission and Cooperation Group has been established within the body of TCDD in order to negotiate technical, administrative and financial subjects related to "Kars-Edirne Railway Construction Project" within the scope of the agreements.

TCDD is conducting works with Chinese companies such as, Chinese Ministry of Railways MoR, Chinese Railway Construction Company (CRCC), Third Party Railway Research and Design Institution Group (TSDI) and Chinese National Trade Company (CNTIC). In order to determine the financial portrait of the project, the negotiations continue between Chinese Ministry of Railways, Chinese financing companies and authorities of T.R. Prime Ministry Undersecretariat of Treasury. The authorities, who inform us that the construction works continue in Ankara-Sivas section of Edirne-Kars line, also inform us that the works for Edirne-Istanbul section have been conducted by General Directorate of Infrastructure Investments. The authorities, who also inform us on the construction dates of the lines within the scope of this agreement, have stated that Sivas-Erzincan line is planned to be completed between 2012 and 2017, Erzincan-Erzurum-Kars between 2013 and 1019, Trabzon-Erzincan between 2015 and 2023 and Yerköy-Kayseri between 2011 and 2014, and Ankara-Istanbul high speed railway is planned to be completed between 2017 and 2023. The authorities state that all projects will begin between 2015 and 2017. TCDD authorities, who emphasize that it is important to create competition and ensure participation of local companies, "thus, the negotiations, which will ensure competition and participation of local companies, still continue in the financing agreement."

One of the most important lines that will inspirit the historical Silk Road is Kars-Ahılkelek-Tbilisi-Baku Railway project. In relation to the project, which will ensure direct connection of Turkey with Azerbaijan and Turkic Republics, a framework agreement has been signed on February 7, 2007 in Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia, between President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Georgia Mihail Saakaşvili and Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
According to the information provided by the authorities of TCDD, the infrastructure of 105 km of line between Kars and Ahılkelek will be constructed in accordance with double line, the superstructure will be constructed as single line, electrical and signaled. TCDD authorities, who have stated that the existing 176 km of single line between Ahılkelek-Marabda-Tbilisi is planned to be rehabilitated, "In relation to 105 km between Kars and Ahılkelek that will be re-constructed, the construction of 76 km, which is on Kars-Georgia border, is under the Ministry of Transportation General Directorate of DLH Investment Program with project number 1999E010020 and under the name 'Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan Railway'. The cost of this project is 388,886,000 TL in accordance with 2008 Investment Program."
The authorities, who have stated that the construction tender of the project has been completed in 2007 and Özgün Yapı Sanayi ve Tic. A.Ş., Çelikler Taahhüt Inşaat ve Sanayi A.Ş. Joint Venture, which has offered 290 million TL, has won the tender and the agreement has been signed in 2008. The authorities also stated that the tender for the works in Georgian part have also completed and "The foundation of the project has been laid in Marabda station, which is 15 km outside of Tbilisi, capital city of Georgia, on November 21, 2007, with the ceremony attended by Turkish President Abdullah Gül, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Georgia Mihail Saakaşvili. The site has been delivered to the contractor for our part of the project and the foundation of the project has been laid on July 24, 2008, with the ceremony attended by Turkish President Abdullah Gül, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and President of Georgia Mihail Saakaşvili. The works in the part of the project in Turkish lands still continue."


           Technical Features of Kars-Ahılkelek-Tbilisi-Baku Railway Line

                                                 Turkish Part                                 Georgian Part


Line Length

75,915 km

28,335 Km


Double line, electrical

Double line, electrical

Minimum Curve Diameter

800 m

1000 m

Total Tunnel Length:

1287 m

1073 m


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