Railway and highway works continue at full speed on the Fizuli – Ağbend line, which Azerbaijan saved from occupation. Great progress has been made in the project that will provide direct transportation between Baku and Nakhchivan and Türkiye. In the works started after the decree published by Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in 2021, 75 percent of the Horadiz-Ağbend highway and 38 percent of the Horadiz-Ağbend railway line have been completed.
Work continues on the railways and highways, the foundations of which were laid on October 26, 2021, with the participation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Turkish companies take important responsibilities in the project that will carry the Turkish World to the door of Anatolia.
Azerbaijan Railways Construction and Project Manager Kenan Rzayev stated that Turkish companies play a very active role on the Horadiz-Ağbend railway line and said, “Turkish companies play a very active role in these projects, especially in Karabakh. One of the main construction companies in railways is a Turkish company. Turkish companies still serve as consultants because the soil structures after the 50th km are a little more specific and difficult.
Turkish companies are not only reviving the areas liberated from the occupation, but also the railway that connects Azerbaijan with Russia and Iran along the north-south line with new modern techniques. When the said works are completed, the annual load carrying capacity will increase and significant reductions in fuel costs will be achieved.
There will be 9 stations and 41 bridges in the project.
The project, which is under construction, also comes to the fore with many engineering works. Along the line, there will be 9 stations, 41 bridges, 3 tunnels and 22 automobile crossings, as well as a total of 469 additional works. In the 110-kilometer Horadiz Ağbend railway project, 140.6 kilometers of railway will be laid with side roads. The first phase of the project is 89% complete in the Horadiz Şükürbeyli section, the second phase is 39% completed in the 30-85 kilometer area including the Sultanlı Mincivan section, and the third phase is expected to be completed in 2024 in the Mincivan Ağbend section. The 60-meter perimeter of the railway was cleared of mines.
It will be the longest railway bridge in Azerbaijan
In the last part of the line extending to Zengezur, there is the city of Zangilan, where immigrants have started to return to their homes. The project also includes a bridge under construction over the Hekeri Stream, which passes through the city. Azerbaijan State Railways Spokesperson Senuber Nazarova stated that Azerbaijan’s longest railway bridge was built on the Horadiz-Ağbend railway line.
Nazarova told TRT Haber, “The bridge we stand in front of is counted as the longest railway bridge in the history of the Azerbaijani railway. Its length is 418 meters and consists of 13 openings. Currently, the piers and spans of the bridge are about to be completed,” he said.
There will be a new alternative route between Türkiye and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan’s transportation networks created during the Soviet Union are at a level that will provide connection from Baku port to Ağbend, from Tbilisi to Iran and Russia. With the railway network currently in use in the country, transportation can only be provided from Baku to Horadiz. Once the ongoing works in the liberated areas are completed, uninterrupted transportation will be possible until Zangezur.
There is a 43-kilometer line that has not been used for many years in the Zangezur section on the territory of Armenia. With the completion of maintenance and repair works on the Zangezur line after the Yerevan administration negotiations and the final peace agreement, railway transportation from Baku to Nakhchivan will be established.
After the Baku Tbilisi Kars railway project and the lines, some of which are provided through Iran, a third alternative will now be the Zangezur line. In addition to the increase in the amount of freight transported annually, it will also be an economic boiler door for Armenia. Transforming the region into an energy and commercial transit point will also contribute to the prosperity and stability of the countries in the region.
The region that Atatürk calls the Turkish gate becomes a bridge between east and west after 102 years
The issue of opening the transportation lines, which is also included in the November 10, 2020 agreement, will mean that the region will return to its former strategic position. The project, which will connect Azerbaijan to Nakhchivan and Turkey to Central Asia, will form the lifeblood of the middle corridor.
The Turkish Gate project, which will connect Armenia, which is not connected with the sea, to Europe and Asia, will bring the East and the West closer together. The strategic region, which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk called the Turkish Gate and Kazım Karabekir called the ‘Oriental Gate’, was connected to Azerbaijan under the guarantor of Turkey. Although the status of Zangezur was later changed during the Soviet period and attached to Armenia, Nakhchivan was retained as a result of great efforts.
The existence and guarantorship of the Republic of Türkiye and Nakhchivan did not suffer the same fate. The region, whose strategic importance is better understood today, is expected to serve as an important bridge between Turkey’s connection to the Turkish States and Europe to China.
Infrastructure destroyed during 30 years of occupation
In the region that was occupied for about 30 years, the 329.3 km long railway from the Soviet period was destroyed. In addition, 6 transformer centers belonging to the railway infrastructure and 165.5 km of electricity were destroyed. 816.5 km long communication lines were also disabled. During the said period, immovables, vehicles and technical equipment belonging to the Railways were also seized and taken to another region.