This year’s meeting of the Tripartite Council for the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Project is to be held in Istanbul starting today. The railway, a joint Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish inter-state affair, is heavily funded by the Azerbaijan State Oil Fund, and of mutual benefit to all the partners.
According to the news bit, some $431.3 million has already been allocated toward the completion of the Georgian sector of the railway. Among other key discussions, the Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Marabda railway reconstruction will add some 15 million tons of capacity to the cargo aspect of the rail endeavor there.
A planned centre in Akhalkalaki for the transition trains from the Georgian rails to the European system is also a fundamental hurdle to be solved. The peak capacity of the rail line will be roughly 17 million tons of cargo represented by a million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo. A tunnel under the Bosporus to access Europe is also being projected.
Turkish Transport Minister Binali Yildirim, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili, and Azerbaijan’s Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov, are slated to attend. And all the positives of the rail construction, some experts (PDF) point out Armenia being further isolated by such a direct and exlcusive line being developed. Geopolitical issues still hamper the PR of the railway, yet the overall connective features cannot be denied.