Wednesday, 25 April 2018
Turkey’s transport infrastructure is connected to Europe

İbrahim öz - Chairman of the Executive Board Railway Transport Association

ibrahim_oz_railwayThe issue of developing a Trans-European Network-TEN- that will connect the transport, telecommunication, and energy infrastructures of the EU’s member states, acting from the view that the infrastructures of the member states that are independent from each other and  between which no sufficient connection was constituted as of the beginning of the 1990s will not be helpful for the development of a single market with their current conditions, took place in the Maastricht Agreement dated 1992 as a new title.
Hence, with the aim of forming an open and competitive market system, objective was set to connect the national and regional networks of infrastructure to each other, to render them mutually operable, to complete the broken connections, to eliminate the blockages, and to merge the islands, the areas surrounded by land, and the surrounding regions to the centre.
While economic competitiveness, growth, employment increase, transport safety is ensured, air pollution is reduced, environmental standards are increased; in short, interregional cooperation and harmony is strengthened with the establishment of the Trans-European Network, most importantly, free movement of persons and goods will be facilitated.
The legal base of the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) that are related with the transport dimension of the Trans-European Network (TEN) was laid down through the 1692/96/AT European Parliament and Council Resolution. The Nr. 1692/96/AT Resolution states that TEN-T contains all the means of transport such as motorways, railways, ports, airports, and domestic waterways, covers the entire Union in terms of geography but it can be expanded along the Central/East European and Mediterranean Countries when necessary. In addition, it brings forward some precautions that contain the development of an infrastructure which will enable the free movement of people and goods infrastructure or utilization of the current infrastructure to the optimum extent and that requires them to be mutually operable transport along with all its components and it gives place to the properties that various transport networks must have.

In order to create a larger Europe in the field of transport, a study that aims at extending the European main transport axes to the EU's neighbouring countries and regions and that determines the corridors extending from European to the Middle East, Caucasia, Central Asia and Southeast Asia in this context was conducted. In this framework, the TEN-T’s objectives were determined as;
• The EU’s expansion from its inward integration to a global integration through the ports and airports,
• Increasing the capacity of the Single Market where the mutual operability and market access rules in the field of transport apply, in the manner that can compete with the world economy,
• Starting the transport modes like rail, sea, interior waterways to ensure transport activities that are mutual operable in these areas, open to the technologic innovations, environmentally sustainable, secure and that have low energy costs.

Turkey has started the Transport Infrastructure Needs Assessment- TINA - Technical Assistance Work within the framework of the  European Union acquis, in order to complete the “Core Network” that will connect with the TEN-T. Study was completed in May 2007. For Turkey, a Core Network identification process consists of the determination of the transport infrastructure network components required for the extension of the EU's Trans-European Transport Networks to Turkey... This process has a similar structure with the Transport Infrastructure Needs Assessment (TINA) process applied in the Central and Eastern European countries.  TEN-T Core Network is defined as the network that consists of the total of the prioritized projects referred to as joint interest project, entitled to receive the EU financial assistance and applied within the EU coordination. It was underlined that the network in question will be connected to the ports, sea ways and will contain logistics centres with service elements. The objective of Turkey's TINA study is to develop a multimodal transport network (Core Network) within the borders of the Turkish Republic and in the form of the extension of the European Union's TEN-T system toward Turkey. The project consists of the identification and assessment of a multimodal transport network that covers the motorways, railways, ports, and airports in Turkey.
Growing trade volume and economic development will increase the demand for transport in Europe, West and Central Asia and The Mediterranean basin. Turkey plays a significant part in the connection between the European Union, the Middle East, the Caucasians, the Mediterranean, the Aegean, and the Black Sea. The transport infrastructure networks in this region are, therefore, vitally important in Turkey, European Union, and entire region in terms of competition, economic development, and employment.
The Ministry of Turkish Transport Maritime and Communication used the results of the Transport Infrastructure Requirement Assessment (TINA) in the Transport Operational Programme. With the Transport Operational Programme, target was set to form an effective and balanced transport system and to improve the transport infrastructure of our country in order to ensure the safe and mutual operability on the Trans-European Networks (TEN-T) that will be constructed. Ministry of Turkish Transport Maritime and Communication ensures that the European Union funds allocated for Turkey’s transport sector in line with the priorities available in the plan, program, and strategy documents prepared for the harmonization with the European Union are used in highest possible levels specifically by means of the projects prepared within the scope of the Trans-European Networks. A significant part of the EU funds used are allocated to railways because “Railways are our future …”
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