The BTK Rail Line Is A Key Component Of The OBOR Landbridge

Headline photo: Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other heads of state celebrate the opening of the trans Caucasian BTK railway on October 30, 2017, as reported by Railway Gazette. Above: A map of the rail route through the Caucuses Mountains bridging Europe and the oil and gas rich Caspian Sea.

Headline photo: Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other heads of state celebrate the opening of the trans Caucasian BTK railway on October 30, 2017, as reported by Railway Gazette. Above: A map of the rail route through the Caucuses Mountains bridging Europe and the oil and gas rich Caspian Sea.

The presidents of Turkey and Azerbaijan and the prime ministers of Georgia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan attended a ceremony at the Port of Baku on October 30 to dispatch an inaugural freight train on the Baku – Tbilisi – Kars corridor. The heads of state and government then travelled to Alat station by train.
— http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/infrastructure/single-view/view/baku-tbilisi-kars-railway-corridor-inaugurated.html

Freight trains can now travel from China through Kazakhstan, arriving at the New Baku Port after crossing the Caspian Sea on a rail ferry to be loaded onto the BTK and journey onward to Europe through Georgia and Turkey. The BTK line, which is expected to halve journey times from China to Turkey to 15 days, is undoubtedly the lynchpin between the European and Asian transport corridors, as well as being the shortest and most reliable route connecting Europe to Asia. The railway line will have the capacity to transport one million passengers annually and 6.5 million tons of freight initially, with significant increases to those figures expected in the future.

Whilst the failed Turkish 2016 coup was seen as the catalyst for their rotation East, the fact that China signed an MOU on the alignment of the OBOR initiative with Turkey’s corridor two years ago is indicative that this process was already underway. The Western backed coup merely accelerated that process for obvious reasons. The creation of the economic corridors that incorporate the Caucasus and the Central Asian states via the Caspian Sea is another key development of the OBOR initiative and is seen as the final piece in the jigsaw to connect Beijing to Lisbon in Portugal which was always the intended goal of the OBOR.

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-- JWS