Minister Karaismailoglu: We are looking forward to starting Kanal Istanbul

Karaismailoglu emphasized that Kanal Istanbul is not only an alternative to the waterway and said, “Kanal Istanbul is a very big project on a world scale that we care about and will contribute a lot to the country. We look forward to starting work as soon as possible.”

Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Adil Karaismailoglu received the Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Turkey, Nikolaus Meyer Landrut in his office.

Pointing out that the transportation sector has been one of the main areas that have been maintaining fruitful relations with EU institutions in recent years, Karaismailoglu explained that Turkey has been trying to implement the highest standards in transportation for more than 30 years and to comply with the EU acquis.

Karaismailoglu emphasized that as a result of this, they reached the level required by the age in various matters from infrastructure to the regulation of transportation activities and said, “In line with the will of our President, we are ready and determined to take all the necessary steps in the transportation and communication sectors to realize a faster, more efficient and constructive cooperation with the EU than before.”

Stating that there is not yet a sufficient alternative to road transport in terms of door-to-door transportation and some types of freight, Karaismailoglu continued as follows:

“During the epidemic we experienced, we witnessed how even the interruption of road transport for a while damages the supply chain. Therefore, while continuing to invest in railways, combined transport, and other alternatives, we must remove the obstacles to freight transport by road. At this point, the problem of highway quotas arises, which has seriously affected our trade for years. We expect you to contribute to the permanent solution of the problem. Updating the Customs Union may provide a solution. We are also ready to negotiate an agreement on the liberalization of road transport.”

High Level Transport Dialogue

Karaismailoglu said that their main expectations in their relations with the EU are to open the transportation chapter to negotiations as soon as possible, to carry out cooperation within the framework of membership negotiations, and to continue the High-Level Transport Dialogue during this period when the chapter is on hold.

Air Transport Agreement Negotiations

Emphasizing that an important area of cooperation affected by the sanctions decisions is the Comprehensive Aviation Agreement Negotiations, Karaismiloglu said, “Our expectation is that the Commission will develop a new approach and understanding and in this direction the successful conclusion of an agreement that benefits both sides.”

Referring to the “Cooperation Agreement” between the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in the field of aviation, Karaismailoglu, expressed that they are ready to resume negotiations for the renewal of the existing agreement, which is beneficial for both sides, and that they expect EASA to take the necessary initiatives and contact DGCA in the upcoming days.

EU-Turkey Financial Cooperation (IPA)

Karaismailoglu stated that the ministry successfully completed the IPA-I period by using €497.1 million of IPA funds mainly in three major railway infrastructure projects, and added saying, “In the IPA-II period, as of today, 87% of the allocation has been approved by the project, the rate of contracting has reached 82% and the fund spending rate has reached 43%.”

Karaismailoglu, who stated that the 2021 goals are the approval of all IPA-II projects, especially the Cerkezkoy Intermodal Terminal Project and municipal projects continued as follows:

“Therefore, strengthening our cooperation in the prioritization and approval of projects will enable us to reach our goal faster. As the Ministry, we agree that Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans should be handled in the first place. However, other accessibility and cycle path projects are also important and priority projects for us.”

Karaismailoglu stated that while the IPA III period started with many uncertainties, three project proposals accepted for 2021-2022 constitute 30% of the fund that Turkey can use.

Karaismailoglu emphasized that this will be an indication that the cooperation in the transportation sector will continue to strengthen in the IPA III period, as in IPA I and IPA II, and said that they want to crown their cooperation with the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge Connection Project of Halkali-Kapikule Railway Line.

Halkali-Kapikule Line Cerkezkoy-Kapikule Section Construction Project

Reminding that they started the Cerkezkoy-Kapıkule Section Construction Project of Halkali-Kapikule Railway Line, which is the most strategic and budget project of the IPA-II period, in June 2019, he stated that the current physical progress rate of the project is 27.3% and the financial progress rate is 31.3%.

Karaismailoglu stated that they welcomed the European Commission’s announcement of 2021 as the Railway Year, and said:

“In this context, I think we can organize both the joint ceremony activity for the Samsun-Kalin Project, which you mentioned in your letter and the Halkali-Kapikule Projects. Within the scope of the Halkali-Kapikule Project, we will be pleased to carry out the technically First Rail Source ceremony and the tree planting activity to create the Project Memorial Forest in the environmental sense.”

Kanal Istanbul Project

Karaismailoglu also mentioned Kanal Istanbul in his speech and said:

“90% of the trade in the world returns through ships and the sea, so huge investments are made in the ports in the Black Sea, the port volumes are expanding. Currently, there are ships waiting for days in the Black Sea and Marmara. Kanal Istanbul is not only an alternative project to this waterway, it is planned as a region where technology, science, art, and tourism will develop together with that area. It is also a project planned for the production of houses for earthquakes in Istanbul in some of the areas there. That’s why Kanal Istanbul is a very big project on a world scale that we care about and will contribute a lot to the country. We complete the projects on the one hand and work on the zoning plans on the other. We look forward to getting started as soon as possible.”

Turkey gives the biggest support to railway projects

“I assure you, personally and as a delegation, I will continue to draw the attention of the relevant member states to this issue. I will underline how important it is to find a lasting solution to this issue,” Landrut said on the issue of road quotas and added:

Stating that railways are also extremely important, Landrut said, “We give the greatest support to these projects in Turkey. We are aware of the importance of the railway. In this context, we can participate in a number of activities that will attract the attention of the public to this area.”

Stating that Brussels is late for the adoption of the legal framework on IPA 3, Landrut said, “You have moved faster than us in the development of projects. I hope that the legal texts will be accepted by the end of February.”

Source: AA / Translated by Bazaar Times Team

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