First Freight Train on Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Departs Port of Baku

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Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey were already linked by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas line.

"The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad is the shortest and most reliable link between Asia and Europe", Aliyev said.

October 30, 2017. the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway connecting Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey has opened following the completion of a 109-km. section from Akhalkalaki, Georgia into Turkey. The new railway corridor, he said, will enable easier transportation between Turkey and Asia as well as the Caucasus and European countries.

"The container from China is delivered to Azerbaijan through the port of Kazakhstan and the Caspian Sea, and this cargo will be transported from Azerbaijan today", added the Kazakh PM added. In his turn, President Erdogan highlighted the strategic importance of this project for the revival of the New Silk Road and noted that with the inauguration of the BTK project "the key leg of the Middle Corridor has now been completed".

Ilham Aliyev stressed that his proves significance of the project, noting that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line is a historical project. This decision was taken in 2006 by Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia with the support of Kazakhstan and China. It will play its role in ensuring stability and security in the region.

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"We have not received any help from anywhere, we have not received any loans, we have built this railroad at the expense of domestic opportunities and put it into operation today", Aliyev said, as quoted by Azerbaijan's local news agencies.

The project's total cost rose to more than US$1 billion from an initial estimate of about US$400 million.

Azerbaijan opened a long-delayed railway through the Caucasus region that is meant to become a new transport corridor for goods carried between Asia and Europe.

"This line will both tie economies and people together. We always say that Turkey is a bridge between Europe and Asia, but this will then be physically true", said Altay Atli, researcher at the Istanbul-based Sabanci University's Istanbul Policy center. The link "will create completely new possibilities not only in our region but beyond".