AIIB approves €300m for Turkey-Bulgaria railway

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Major high speed rail project aims to increase rail transport safety, passenger and freight capacity as well as speed between Turkey and the European Union.  

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved a €300m loan for the Ispartakule-Cerkezkoy railway project that involves the construction of a new double-track, electrified high-speed railway between Ispartakule and Cerkezkoy. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is co-financing the project with a €150m loan.

The railway project is part of the Halkali – Kapikule Railway Line (HKRL), a strategic transport project that forms a significant stretch of the Transport Corridor for Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA). That corridor is seen as a vital infrastructure to strengthen economic relations, trade and transport in the regions of the Black Sea basin, South Caucasus and Central Asia.

Once the project is finished, the people in these regions will have access to an inter-operable national rail transport corridor. It is being built in line with EU standards and ties into the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).

The project is being built to very high environmental standards, particularly in regard to biodiversity. It is also being built with energy efficiency both in construction and operation as a major piece of low carbon infrastructure to help move people and goods from road and aeroplanes.

Supee Teravaninthorn, AIIB director general, infrastructure investment department (region 2), said: “AIIB’s investment in the project is considered 100-percent climate mitigation financing and falls under the Bank’s transport sector strategy. It is also aligned with AIIB’s thematic priorities of connectivity, regional cooperation and green infrastructure. We look forward to working with the Government of Turkey and EBRD in support of developing high-quality and sustainable infrastructure across the region in order to further promote trade and economic growth and improve connectivity between Europe and Asia.”

Mr. Serhat Köksal, Ph.D. acting director general of foreign economic relations, Ministry of Treasury and Finance of Turkey, said: “We appreciate AIIB’s support and contribution in this project, which will provide Turkey’s high standard railway connection with European countries with safe, high-speed and clean connection for both freight and passengers. It is also very important in terms of being the first public project financed by the AIIB and EBRD in the field of transportation. When the project is completed, it will be a major step that strengthens our country’s position as a bridge between East and West.”

The Ispartakule-Cerkezkoy line under construction.