Turkey is a strategically important country for the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, as it straddles the border between Europe and Asia. China has recognized this by helping to construct a high-speed rail network in the country, to help facilitate cross-continental trade.
The Ankara–Istanbul line is 533 kilometers in length, and links the country’s capital with its largest city.
Back in the days of the ancient Silk Road, Turkey was a critical juncture between east and west. The same is true today. Yet no longer is trade carried on the backs of animals. The Belt and Road Initiative is pushing Turkey to capitalize on its important geographical location.
The China Railway Construction Corporation and the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation, in partnership with two Turkish companies, won the bid to build part of Turkey’s first high speed railway line, linking the Turkish capital with the country’s largest city.
Nearly 1,500 kilometers of track has been laid with more than 2,300 kilometers currently under construction. Since the first line between Ankara and Eskisehir began operation in 2009, more than 31 million people have traveled using Turkey’s fast trains, with 33 percent of the country’s population now connected to the high-speed network.
Nearly 26 million tons of goods were transported using the high-speed lines in 2016. This efficient movement of trade is the main driver of Chinese investment in high-speed railway networks in various countries along the route of the ancient Silk Road.
The middle corridor line through Turkey is expected to be completed in 2018, making the transportation of Chinese goods to Europe four times faster.
China’s export of high-speed train technology was the catalyst for Turkey’s burgeoning bullet train market, a development that will not only serve Turkey, but the world. – CRI
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