Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan discuss expansion of versatile ties

    POLITICS  05 October 2023 - 09:35

    President of Turkmenistan Sardar Berdimuhamedow received on October 4 the Minister of Economy of Azerbaijan Mikail Jabbarov.

    Jabbarov revealed the details of the meeting in a post published on X (formerly Twitter).

    "As part of our visit to Turkmenistan, we had the honour of meeting with the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedow. We highlighted the significance of Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan relations, underlining the commitment of both heads of state to foster friendship, solidarity, and the development of multifaceted ties between our nations," Jabbarov wrote, Caliber.Az informs.

    The Central Asian region, with its limited reach to Western markets due to its geography, has been seeking economic diversification by throwing weight behind various ambitious projects such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). For regional states, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) route emerges as a logical continuation of the multi-billion-dollar BRI project to achieve a safe, cheaper and faster connection with Europe.

    For Turkmenistan, the 829-kilometer-long BTK line is a highly efficient alternative route to reach the European marketplace. The BTK links Azerbaijan’s railway network to the railroad grid of Türkiye and enables an easier and faster rail connection between China, Central Asia, and Europe.

    Sitting on huge reserves of fossil fuel, primarily natural gas, Ashgabat has been seeking more beneficial transport connections between the South Caucasus and Central Asia, which could bring access to the 760-million market of the continent. In this context, the BTK railway sits well in the plans of the Turkmen government to make further inroads into the overseas markets.

    The establishment of logistics centers and free trade zones at the ports of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan will facilitate the development and deepening of Trans-Caspian cooperation, providing a boost to regional economies. By effectively leveraging the benefits of the Middle Corridor, the countries in the region can reap the rewards of increased trade and economic growth.

    The Baku International Sea Trade Port (Azerbaijan), Aktau/Kuryk ports (Kazakhstan), and Turkmenbashi Port (Turkmenistan) are the main maritime points of the Middle Corridor, which promises even bigger benefits to the countries in the region.

    Compared to the Northern Corridor, the Middle Corridor provides a more cost-effective and faster trade route, reducing travel distance by 2,000 kilometers. Additionally, it benefits from more favorable climate conditions and reduces travel time by 15 days compared to sea routes.

    The Middle Corridor opens up immense opportunities for cargo traffic in Asia, enabling goods to reach the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean region by integrating port connections in Türkiye. The strategic location of the Middle Corridor is expected to create significant economic opportunities, allowing South Caucasian and Central Asian countries to benefit from the $600 billion China-Europe trade annually.

    Caliber.Az

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