Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 1
The decisive political will of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has made it possible to turn one more historic project into reality, Ali Hasanov, Azerbaijani president’s assistant for public and political affairs, wrote in a Facebook post Nov. 1.
The opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway on October 30 has become an important historic event both in the socio-political and economic life of Azerbaijan and on a global scale, said Hasanov.
“Most of the experts believe that the BTK will strengthen trade and economic relations between the European and Asian countries, economic development of the region’s countries and their geopolitical influence in the world,” noted the top official.
First of all, the BTK railway is of particular importance in terms of ensuring the geo-economic interests of Azerbaijan, he added.
Hasanov said the purposeful policy pursued by President Ilham Aliyev on the use of Azerbaijan’s rich natural resources, favorable geographical position, transport and communications capabilities connecting the East and the West, and other geopolitical advantages in line with national interests has substantially strengthened Azerbaijan’s role on international arena.
The BTK railway has been established to meet the need of creating a new, economically viable transportation route for freight traffic in Eurasia, noted the president's assistant.
Preparation and implementation of the BTK railway project, which is an important component of the Eurasian transportation map, has lived through various difficulties, noted Hasanov. He said some foreign political circles claimed that this project is economically ineffective.
However, the principled political will of President Ilham Aliyev, as well as the principal position, mutual support and confidence of the leaders of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, helped overcome all the difficulties and turn the next historic project into a reality, added the top official.
In the system of geopolitical relations in the South Caucasus, national interests of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia complement each other, noted Hasanov, adding that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC), Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum oil and gas pipelines, as well as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway play an important role in ensuring the joint geo-economic interests and security of these three countries.
The signing of the agreement on construction of the BTK railway in 2007 further deepened the strategic partnership relations between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey in transport and communications, he said.
Over the past few years, Azerbaijan has become a crucial link in transport and communication relations of the world, by transforming domestic, regional and international road infrastructures, including transit systems as part of the East-West and North-South transport corridors, noted the presidential assistant.
Azerbaijan’s participation in transnational energy, transportation and communications projects (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline, Europe-Caucasus-Asia transport and communication corridor, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, etc.) has increased its geo-economic importance in the region and its role in ensuring international energy and transportation security, said Hasanov.
He noted that Azerbaijan has become one of the major transportation and logistics centers in the world, as an initiator, driving force and main guarantor of the BTK railway project.
“The railway is the shortest, but economically viable route connecting Europe with Asia, and it is envisaged to transport 5 million tons of cargo at the first stage and 17 million tons and more in the subsequent period,” added the top official.
He noted that the BTK railway will have a significant impact on the efficient and inexpensive access of Azerbaijani exporters to world markets and will allow increasing the volume of foreign trade turnover among the countries which are located along the route.
“Another geo-economic importance of this transportation route is the direct railway connection between Europe and Azerbaijan through Turkey and Georgia,” said the top official.
Implementation of transnational transportation and communication projects in the South Caucasus meets strategic interests of not only Azerbaijan, but also other states in ensuring peace and stability in the region, added Hasanov.