Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 6
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
First, the recent events in the southeastern provinces of Turkey caused problems with the transportation of goods from the country to Iran and the markets of Central Asia.
Iran has been periodically closing the border with Turkey due to security concerns. This is another consequence of these events. Of course, this causes great damage to the Turkish side.
Ankara perceives the expected lifting of sanctions against Tehran very positively. But Ankara is not convinced that Iran can become the single and non-alternative corridor for the transportation of goods to the markets of Central Asia. Sooner or later this will lead to the fact that Turkey will be forced to seek alternative routes to enter the markets of Central Asia.
In an interview with Turkish media, Seray Ozkan, researcher at Caspian Strategy Institute (HASEN) emphasized the importance of diversifying the Central Asian markets in order to avoid risks which the Iranian market can be fraught with.
Earlier, Cetin Nuhoglu, head of Turkey's International Transporters Association said that Iran creates artificial barriers for Turkish transporters.
"The delivery of 70 percent of Turkish cargoes is delayed due to the Iranian side," Nuhoglu added.
Moreover, member of the executive board of Turkey's International Transporters Association Elif Sevim told Trend that Turkey is considering the possibility of using the Georgia-Azerbaijan route for cargo transportation to Turkmenistan bypassing Iran.
Given the existence of serious problems today in Iran, which is a transit country for the transportation of goods from Turkey, Azerbaijan can become such a country.
Currently, Turkish trucks spend the time standing on the Turkish-Iranian and Iranian-Turkmen border for a long period, sometimes up to 10 days. If Azerbaijan becomes a transit country, it will make it possible to reduce this period twice, and that is in the interests of Turkey.
Against the background of the real problems with the delivery of goods via Iran to the markets of Central Asia, one must remember that Turkey and China agreed on the joint use of roads, and the parties will sign an agreement on this issue in February 2016.
There remains only to choose a final route for importing goods to Turkey, and Azerbaijan has extensive potential to become a transit country.
Taking this into account, it is possible to say that sooner or later Azerbaijan will become a transit country for transportation of goods from Turkey to Turkmenistan on ro-ro vessels.
In other words, Azerbaijan's importance for Turkey, as well as for the region is growing.
Edited by CN
Rufiz Hafizoglu is the head of Trend Agency's Arabic news service, follow him on Twitter: @rhafizoglu