Istanbul to Bulgaria high speed rail takes step forward

Satellite view of Turkey at night

EBRD announces $150m loan for the construction of the Ispartakule-Cerkezkoy rail section.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending a €150m loan to the Turkish government for the construction of 67km of high-speed rail from Istanbul to the Bulgarian border.

The loan will further support Turkey’s transition to a low-carbon economy. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is also considering parallel financing, while the Turkish government will provide the remaining funds needed for the €640m million infrastructure project.

The double-track Ispartakule-Cerkezkoy project will be built in line with EBRD standards and is part of the electrified Halkali-Kapikule railway line, co-financed by the European Union (EU). This is part of the EU Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and will provide safe, sustainable and low-carbon passenger and freight transport to and from the EU and will help to support trade.

Lütfi Elvan, Turkey’s minister of treasury and finance, said: “We appreciate the EBRD’s support and contribution to the Ispartakule-Çerkezköy railway line project, the first public project financed by the Bank in the field of transportation. It is expected to improve Turkey’s internal and cross-border connectivity and is also an important opportunity to nurture our productive partnership with the EBRD for the future.”

Arvid Tuerkner, EBRD managing director for Turkey, said: “The loan for the construction of the Ispartakule-Cerkezkoy line builds on more than four years of joint work by the EBRD and the Turkish authorities on legal and regulatory reforms aimed at improving the commercialisation of the railway sector and providing opportunities for greater private-sector participation.”

The Ispartakule-Cerkezkoy railway section will be tendered and built in-line with the EBRD’s procurement rules and environmental and social standards.  Turkey’s Directorate General of Infrastructure Investments has also committed to implementing a series of measures to promote greater career opportunities for women and to create working conditions in which women thrive.