The railway will "carry Chinese goods to Europe in just 12 to 15 days", said the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who also attended the ceremony with the Georgian prime minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Kazakh prime minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev and Uzbek premier Abdullah Aripov.
The plan put forward is that the 846-kilometer-long railway that strategically connects Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey will play a pivotal role in the Middle Corridor as part of the greater One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.
The Azerbaijani president expressed confidence that the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project will be completed soon and there is no problem with its implementation, Trend reports.
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The rail link between Azerbaijan and Georgia was modernized under the project, which was launched in 2007.
He noted that the BTK railway is also the most important economic project for Turkey. It may be mentioned that sleeper-car trains will link Baku to Istanbul, providing a unique opportunity to tourists to see three countries (Turkey-Georgia-Azerbaijan) in one ticket.
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Around 79 kilometers of the BTK Railway pass through Turkey, while 246 kilometers pass through Georgia and 504 kilometers through Azerbaijan.
Regarding bilateral trade, Erdoğan said the current volume stands around $1.6 billion and the low oil prices negatively affected the trade between the two countries. Azerbaijan and Armenia are in an unresolved conflict over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The railway is expected to transport 5 million tonnes of cargo per year initially, rising to 17 million tonnes over time, Mr Aliyev said.
President Erdogan and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev reviewed the guard of honor and saluted the Azerbaijani soldiers.
Azerbaijan's Minister of Economy Shahin Mustafayev and Turkish Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci signed "The Memorandum of Understanding on the signing of the preferential trade agreement between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Republic of Turkey".