The fourth trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan – Mevlut Çavuşoğlu, Elmar Mammadyarov and Rashid Meredov – took place on the 19th of July 2017.
The event was hosted in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, and the main purpose was to highlight the necessity of cooperation between the three countries in order to reach stability in the region. Since their first trilateral meeting on the 26th of May of 2014, all the states involved supported the idea of collaboration to maintain peace, stability and to create a stimulus for economic development.
During the last meeting, the Turkish Foreign Minister emphasized the necessity of regional cooperation and he stressed the need of future dialogue.
More specifically, Çavuşoğlu stated that the energy and transport sectors are an important economic stimulus in the region and he used the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway that will connect Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan as a main argument.
The BTK railway constitutes an infrastructure project set to increase trade flows and improve relations between the countries involved, as it was established in 2014 at the first meeting in Baku. The BTK railway will have a total length of 836 km and the capacity to transport 7 million tons of freight and 1 million passengers every year. Subsequently, the capacity of the railway will increase as the work is completed, as it aims to reach a capacity of 3 million passengers and over 15 million tons of freight.
Moreover, during the event it was mentioned that the train service of BTK railway will be functional by autumn 2017, despite having been postponed on several occasions in the past. This project will bring added value to the development of the Caucasus region, due to the contribution to the economic sector.
Furthermore, the project aims to connect South Caucasus to the European markets, by facilitating the transit for approximately 500 million citizens and merchandise.
To sum up, the start of BTK railway will significantly contribute to strengthening regional cooperation and stimulate economic growth in particular for the states involved, having the potential of becoming a landmark project.
As such, the four trilateral meetings organized so far brought forward the importance of strategic initiatives in the energy and transportation sectors in the Caspian Sea basin for the corridors that transit Azerbaijan, Turkey and Turkmenistan.