TURKEY is planning to expand its network from the current 12,803km to 16,775km by the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic in 2023, as the country looks to cement a position in China’s Belt and Road initiative.

Highlighting the investments Turkey has made in rail over the past 19 years during a visit to the central province of Yozgat, transport and infrastructure minister, Mr Adil Karaismailoğlu, said the country was also developing national and indigenous technologies to modernise its railways, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The Belt and Road initiative plans to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors with the aim of improving regional integration, increasing trade and stimulating economic growth.

The first train to run from Asia to Europe was via the Middle Corridor and the Baku - Tbilisi - Kars railway (BTK) in 2019. The Middle East Corridor runs from Turkey via Georgia, Azerbaijan, and central Asia to China, with Turkey hoping it will become an alternative to both shipping routes and the Trans-Siberian Railway.

In January, Turkey operated two pilot services from Ankara via the BTK railway to Russia and China respectively.

For detailed data on rail projects in Turkey, subscribe to IRJ Pro.