Minister Cahit Turhan: Turkey to shoulder the burden of the world
Our country has substantial advantage in the field of logistics and transport owing to its geographical position, its proximity to global markets, and low production and workforce costs. It is clear that we have significant experience especially in the field of international transport. Nevertheless, the gigantic countries with more than one-billion population like China and India aside, one of the fastest growing countries is Turkey despite all kinds of prevention. The most important infrastructure investments that will ensure this growth are being made by our Ministry. Our mega projects in the fields of transportation and communication are being observed by the entire world enviously. These colossal projects that we have implemented not only reach our citizens but also carry our country to the future. Even if they facilitate the lives of our people, they serve for a target that is much more than it.
The transport and logistics sector that is the lifeblood of large economies is almost one sixth of the Gross Domestic Product of Turkey and covers a significant place in our 2023 targets. Hence, we are aiming to be a regional base in logistics by considering the fact that we are in the center of the foreign trade networks in our region. Accordingly, we are working for the reduction of the logistics costs, improvement of trade, and increase of the competitive power. In consideration of the economical and political condition in the world, significant changes take place in the centers of wealth and due to the slippage experienced in those centers, commercial relations between the east and the west are increasing in a very fast manner. This condition brings along an increasing demand between the economies of the west and the rapidly-rising east in the logistics services with land, rail, and sea transport.
Accordingly, because of the increase of the importance of the regions that include our geography, the importance of the infrastructure of the region along Anatolia, Caucasia, Central Asia, and even to the west of China increases as well. Thus, through the international collaborations we have established, we are trying to convert the region into an international corridor in every mode of transport between the countries situated in it. Also in the achievements we have exhibited in the last 16 years, lie the efforts of converting our country into an international corridor in every mode of transport. Our giant projects like the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, Osmangazi Bridge, Eurasia Tunnel, Istanbul New Airport, Northern Aegean Port, Gebze Orhangazi-Izmir Highway, 1915 Çanakkale Bridge, Baku-Tbilisi- Kars Railroad line, and the high-speed train lines are the significant investments that will convert Turkey into an international corridor. There are three main corridors as Northern, Southern, and Middle Corridors in the East-West route between Asia and Europe. The line that is referred to as the “Middle Corridor” and that will connect the Central Asia and Caspian region starting from China to Europe through our country has a substantial importance as the continuation of the historical Silk Road.
It is because of the fact that the cargo transport period from China to the EU countries (such as the UK, Germany, France, etc.), with the inclusion of sea to the Northern and Southern Corridors, takes presently approximately 45-62 days. However, same cargo reaches the EU countries in 12-15 days through the Middle Corridor upon putting our speed train lines into service in the Baku-TbilisiKars Project. That is to say, if the cargoes dispatched by China to the EU cross the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars line, a period of one fourth of the present time will be sufficient. Presently, 26-27 million-ton cargo are being carried in our national rail network on annual basis. However, this amount of cargo will be doubled or even tripled soon. In order for us to be able to respond to such demand, we have started to establish the logistics villages that bring together all the transport modes under a single roof, providing all services needed by the logistics sector. We have put eight of the 21 logistics hubs planned to be established in this scope, being Istanbul, Izmit, Balıkesir, Eskişehir, Uşak, Denizli, Samsun, and Kahramanmaraş, into service. I believe that all kinds of investments we make in the logistics sector, in particular in railroads, will make our country an efficient logistics base. They will make our country shoulder the burden of the world.