The European Investment Bank is providing EUR 200 million to the Turkish State Railways, as a further contribution to upgrading the country’s main transport corridor between Ankara and Istanbul. This additional funding brings total EIB support for this high speed railway line to some EUR 1.5 billion.
The finance agreement was signed today in Ankara in a public ceremony. Mr İbrahim Çanakcı, Undersecretary of Treasury, signed on behalf of the Republic of Turkey, and President Werner Hoyer signed on behalf of the EIB, in the presence of the EIB Vice-President responsible for Turkey, Mr Pim van Ballekom, during an official visit to Turkey.
On this occasion, EIB President Werner Hoyer stated: “I am pleased to sign this loan agreement today bringing further EIB support for this flagship project linking Europe with Asia. This facility further consolidates the position of EIB as Turkey’s key financial partner for the funding of large priority projects and the country’s efforts to re-balance its transport mode mix in favour of the railways. I have also been informed with pleasure that this project is now progressing well towards its finalisation. As the EU bank, we have been a solid partner of Turkey for some fifty years. Our presence here today underlines the Bank’s commitment to strengthening growth and innovation in Turkey. Over the last decade, the Bank has lent as much as EUR 17bn. It is especially since 2005 that we have seen a surge in the Bank’s activity, which is now stands at a robust annual volume of some EUR 2bn. That makes Turkey the biggest recipient country by far of EIB funds outside the Union, and would even put it as the 7th largest beneficiary country in the Union. This growth in EIB financing is a reflection of the changes that have taken place within Turkey, and also between Turkey and the European Union.”
The project was first financed by the EIB in 2006. It aims at building the country's first high speed railway between the country’s two largest cities. It will interconnect with the Marmaray Bosphorus Tunnel, also financed by the EIB. In this way it will enable train connections between the two continents. Its merits are many and diverse, including ensuring substantial time savings for travellers, supporting economic development and quality of life and generating significant environmental benefits.
The project constitutes a key element of the Government’s plans to increase the share of rail transport by improving the productivity and effectiveness of railway operations. EIB has been strongly supporting this effort and hence the total value of EIB financing for the Turkish rail system in the last five years comes to some EUR 2.5 billion.
In addition, the project is strongly supportive of key strategic objectives of EU policy and is a continuation of Pan-European Corridor IV. The European Union is therefore also providing a grant of EUR 120 million to the HSL project through its Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) funds. This project is therefore an excellent example of the complementary use of EU grants and EIB loans for this priority investment in the sustainable transport infrastructure of the country.