UAE, Turkey discuss railway link in race for Europe-Asia trade routes: Report

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Abu Dhabi wealth fund ADQ and Turkey are in talks to build a railway over Istanbul’s Bosphorus strait as part of a planned trade corridor linking Europe to the Middle East and Asia, according to Turkish officials familiar with the matter.

The railway would cross the Yavuz Sultan Selim suspension bridge, one of the longest and widest of its kind in the world, built for $3 billion under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to link the city’s European and Asian sides.

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It adds to a series of potential deals between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, of which Abu Dhabi is the capital. The UAE pledged $51 billion in July to support Turkey’s battered economy after Ankara and Arab Gulf states put aside years of animosity.

The UAE government, in a statement to Bloomberg, said it hoped bilateral trade with Turkey would double to $40 billion by 2030 and that “key sectors” for investment included energy, logistics, tourism and agriculture.

Turkey’s Transport and Infrastructure Ministry declined to comment. ADQ, which has about $160 billion of assets, declined to comment.

With its strategic location straddling Europe and Asia while also controlling access to the Black Sea, Turkey is vying to become a crucial part of a trade corridor it hopes to eventually see between London and Beijing. It’s aiming to link Gulf nations to its railway and highway network, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The railway could be followed by other infrastructure projects to support that ambition in future, they added.

Erdogan has accelerated efforts to convince Gulf states to back a $17 billion trade route from Iraq’s port of Basra after the US and India last month agreed on a competing route with support from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel, in response to China’s growing influence across the energy-rich region.

Once part of the ancient Silk Road, Turkey is also pushing for the construction of a transport corridor to Azerbaijan across southern Armenia or Iran to advance plans for a new trade route to Asia.

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