A solemn opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway (BTK) has got underway at Baku International Sea Trade Port.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva, President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov, as well as delegations of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan attended the event.
President Ilham Aliyev made a speech at the ceremony.
Baku–Tbilisi–Kars railway is a regional rail link project to directly connect Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.
The agreement on the construction of the railway was signed in Tbilisi in 2007.
The BTK rail line will extend from the bank of the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan to the capital city of Georgia and then cut south to the east of Turkey before feeding into the broader Turkish rail system and Europe beyond. This rail line is designed to become a key part of the southern route of the emerging New Silk Road network of trade and transport corridors that are coming together between China and Europe.
The line is intended to transport one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of freight at the initial stage. The capacity will then reach 3 million passengers and 17 million tons of cargo.