Turkey introduces new Integrated Transportation Corridors Project to OSCE Minsk Group

Turkey introduces new Integrated Transportation Corridors Project to OSCE Minsk Group
# 23 February 2013 10:33 (UTC +04:00)

Baku – APA. Turkey has proposed that Armenia take part in its comprehensive regional transportation project linking Europe to Asia, if there are concrete developments in solving Nagorno-Karabakh dispute with Azerbaijan, APA reports quoting Hürriyet Daily News. “We are trying to activate the OSCE Minsk Group for the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. We introduced the Integrated Transportation Corridors Project to the Minsk Group in November 2012. This project is to be implemented in peace time and particularly after Armenia moves on with regard to its occupation in seven regions bordering Nagorno-Karabakh. We are proposing full normalization of ties between Turkey-Armenia and Armenia-Azerbaijan,” Turkish diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News recently.

Turkey introduced its Integrated Transportation Corridors Project to the Minsk Group on Nov. 8. The sources told that it has received a positive response from all Minsk Group countries: “We have made clear to them this project is aiming at creating a peace perspective to the benefit of all relevant parties.”

The proposed transportation project has two phases. On the one hand it is focused on linking Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia Federation through fixing unused railways and building new ones. Along with the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway project that is expected to be concluded by the end of this year, the Turkey-Armenia railway may be re-opened after just a minor rehabilitation.

Parallel to the railway, a new modern highway is also being considered to further increase trade and human traffic between the two countries. “Obviously, we are also planning to build new logistical centers and residential areas, as well as mass housing projects along these routes to create a new regional hub. The only objective of this project is to create an economic pick-up in the region, for the advantage of all countries and for the prosperity of their people,” sources stressed.

Turkey’s project also addresses the need to link regional countries to Europe and Asia. A transportation line between London and Beijing will soon be possible with the conclusion of the Marmaray Project and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad, while normalization of the political situation in the region would also allow Armenia to join this growing strategic picture, sources close to the project claim.

Known for its suspicion of potential Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, Azerbaijan has been informed about the content of the project by Turkey. “They know what we want. We have made clear them that this is a project that will be implemented only after Armenia moves towards peace,” Azerbaijani sources stressed.

Armenia, however, has so far remained cool to Turkey’s project.

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