Turkish State Railways’ (Turkiye Cumhuriyeti Devlet Demiryollari, or TCDD) plans to build a 6,000-kilometers network of high-speed track have received a major boost from China. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao signed an agreement in early October in Ankara to loan approximately $28 billion for construction of a 2,000-km high-speed Silk Road Railway. The route will connect Edirne, which is on Turkey’s western border with Bulgaria, and Kars, which is in the northeast near the closed border of Armenia. The Kars–Tbilisi–Baku conventional railway—which links Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan—has been under construction since 2007 and is scheduled for completion by 2012.
Officials at TCDD told ENR the Chinese agreement has been approved by the Turkish Council of Ministers but most likely will not come into effect until after the 2011 midyear elections. It is expected that China will seek preferential terms for Chinese firms to supply the trains and work together with Turkish companies on the engineering and construction of the new lines.