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Turkey to begin building section of Baku–Tbilisi–Kars railway

By M. Alkhazashvili
Translated by Davit Kipiani
Tuesday, July 1
Construction on the Turkish section of the Baku–Tbilisi–Kars railway will begin in late July according to the newspaper 24 Saati. Previous reports said construction would begin in early June.

The Turkish section, which will be around 70 kilometers in length, will connect Kars in northeastern Turkey to the Georgian border.

Construction work on the Georgian section of the railway has already started and is supported by a loan from Azerbaijan of over USD 200 million. Tbilisi will pay back the loan over 25 years at a one percent annual interest rate.

While inaugurating the project last year, President Mikheil Saakashvili said it would be a “window to Europe” for Georgia, which lost control of a rail connection to Russia and beyond when secessionist Abkhazia broke away in the early 1990s.

The EU and US, concerned by the railway’s exclusion of Armenia, are not backing the project.