“THE INTERMODAL CONNECTIVITY AND THE ROLE OF HISTORICAL TRANSPORT ROUTES: THE GREAT SILK ROAD”
Naci KORU 20.02.2018
• Firstly, I would like to thank my distinguished colleague, Ambassador Haljanov for organizing this side event on a very significant issue.
• Turkey, acknowledging the importance of strengthening links between all modes of transport in achieving Sustainable Development Goals, actively takes part in the development of new transport routes in its region.
• Today, the shift of economic gravity towards emerging economies in Asia generates a continuous growth in the transport of goods between Asia and Europe. The trade between the EU and China has reached an enormous level, reaching 514.5 billion Euros in 2016. This number is forecasted to reach 680 billion Euros by 2025. These figures reveal the increasing importance of transport development in the Eurasia region.
• In light of the increasing trade volume, there is an urgent need to develop safe, secure and efficient land connectivity as well as new intermodal transport opportunities for connecting two continents.
• As you know, the idea of reviving the ancient Silk Road materialized in the form of China’s One Belt-One Road Initiative, was first announced in 2013.
• Among its seven components: Turkey and its Trans-Caspian East-West Middle Corridor is located in the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor.
• Recognizing the role of transport corridors in economic growth and facilitation of trade, Turkey embraces a corridor-oriented approach and aims to function as a logistics hub for the freight carried in Eurasia.
• As a bridge between two continents, Turkey has a unique geographical location, providing access to Central Asia, Russia, the Middle East, and North Africa.
• According to a recent estimation, Turkey, within a four-hour flight radius, has access to multiple markets with a combined population of 1.6 billion people, a combined GDP of 35.7 trillion US Dollars, and more than 6.8 trillion US Dollars of foreign trade. This corresponds to around half of the total global trade.
• There are three main corridors in the Euro-Asia region in the east-west direction, namely South, Central and North Corridors. These corridors, are all crucial and complementary corridors for increasing the share of land transport in Euro-Asia region.
• Turkey is located in the Central Corridor that extends from the western part of China to Central Asia, Caspian Region (via ferry) and Europe.
• Turkey attaches particular importance to the development of the Trans-Caspian East-West Middle Corridor as an important component of the Modern Silk Road connecting Europe to China.
• Trans-Caspian East-West Middle Corridor Initiative, which is based on several multilateral and bilateral cooperation mechanisms among Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Turkmenistan, aims to provide a complementary and multi modal connection between Asia and Europe.
• Turkey also endeavors to align its national transport and energy infrastructure development strategy with international initiatives.
• Initiatives such as the “Marmaray” undersea rail project, the third Bosphorus Bridge (Yavuz Sultan Selim), Eurasia Tunnel Project and Three-Level Tube Tunnel Project in Istanbul, the Osmangazi Bridge, Çanakkale Strait Bridge project, Edirne-Kars High Speed Rail project, Gebze-Orhangazi-İzmir Motorway, Northern Marmara Motorway project, as well as the third Istanbul Airport project and the construction of Filyos, Çandarlı and Mersin ports are major examples of such national projects that also enhance regional interconnectivity.
• Following the completion of Marmaray and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project, an uninterrupted railway connection has been established in Turkey to reach Europe.
• As seen from these examples, there are positive and encouraging developments in Eurasia in terms of intermodal connectivity. Taking advantage of its geographical location, Turkey will continue to actively engage in and contribute to the development of projects in this vein.
Sadık Arslan Ambassador
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