Iraq begins a railway project linking it with Europe .. What is Turkey’s position?
Iraq signed a contract with an Italian company to prepare designs for railways and rail links for modern trains that start from Al-Faw through Basra and then Baghdad to the Turkish border with a length of 1,220 km, where the speed of these trains is 260 km per hour.
Iraq pursued a multi-paragraph economic program; Including Arab and international openness, in addition to establishing strategic projects that contribute to a qualitative leap in the national economy. In this context, he intends to actually start a strategic railway project that starts from the south of the country, passing through the Turkish lands towards the European continent.
Talib Al-Hussaini, Director General of the Iraqi Railways Company, says that “his company is serious about this project, and revealed – to Al-Jazeera Net – an “expected meeting at the end of this month (January) with the Turkish technical and engineering staff, in addition to the owners of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, for the purpose of determining Railroad connection point with Turkey.
Al-Husseini revealed the signing of a contract with the Italian company PEG to “prepare designs for railways and rail linking for modern trains that start from Faw through Basra and then Baghdad to the Turkish border with a length of 1220 km, where the speed of these trains is 260 km per hour. An hour for passenger transport and 160 kilometers an hour for cargo.
Turkish economist Siddik Ozun reveals that “there is a lack of clarity about government data from Ankara about the railway connection coming from southern Iraq.”
Ozon said – in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net – that “the railway project that runs from southern Iraq through Turkish territory to the European continent, according to official statements from Baghdad, is an important project, because it will provide financial returns for the Turkish economy thirsty for foreign currency through transit and the commission for carrying goods and travelers.”
Ozon pointed out that “Turkey has for years been pursuing an investment approach and trade and economic openness with all countries,” stressing that the Iraqi railway project through Turkey will be a new financial gateway for the two countries.
The railways suffered significant damage, especially in the areas liberated from ISIS.
Al-Husseini explains that “the engineering and technical company’s staff restored the 66-kilometre “Baghdad-Fallujah” line, in addition to rehabilitating the “Baghdad-Baiji” railway for the purpose of transporting oil derivatives from the Al-Samoud refinery in Baiji. The work also included the Qayyarah refinery railways And the sick bath.”
Al-Husseini pointed out that the railway company started constructing alternative railways in a temporary station after the Mosul train station was completely destroyed, indicating that the line is currently ready for the movement of goods trains only.
He pointed out that the railway’s five-year plan is subject to obtaining financial allocations, and includes the implementation of the suspension train project that connects Rusafa with Karkh, with a length of 22 km, as well as the “Karbala – Musayyib – Najaf – Samawah” project; The arc line, which aims to transport passengers’ goods within the central Euphrates governorates and attach it to the south, center and north, in addition to the suspended train project between the provinces of Najaf and Karbala, for transporting passengers.
The railways in Iraq suffer from many problems, including the lack of awareness and confidence of the Iraqi citizen in the railway transportation system, according to the economic researcher Yasser Al-Saleem.
Al-Saleem added – to Al Jazeera Net – that the establishment of the railway network will create new cities that contribute to reducing Iraq’s need for housing units, and stresses the need for the Iraqi government to work on financing new projects within the framework of the railway safety improvement program, as it is the most feasible economic strategy and also to protect roads and limit of the cost of ongoing maintenance.
The director of the “Iraqi Railways” confirms that the railway connection project comes in conjunction with the start of the construction of the great port of Faw in southern Iraq with a capacity of 99 million tons annually, with an area of 54 square kilometers, to be one of the largest ports overlooking the Arabian Gulf and the tenth in the world. It contains 5 container berths, a storage yard and an external navigation channel.
Al-Faw is the fifth port in Iraq after the four ports: Abu Flus, Umm Qasr, Al-Maqal, and Khor Al-Zubayr.
The Iraqi government headed by Mustafa Al-Kazemi laid the foundation stone for the Grand Faw port project in April of last year by contracting with the South Korean company “DAEWOO” to implement the project at a cost of $5 billion.
On the stages of work in the large project in southern Iraq, a field source told Al Jazeera Net from the work site; Some timelines for the details of the direct port of Al-Faw project:
- The tunnel dock contract for the port needs about two months to be completed in full.
- 3 months to complete the contract of the entrance road to the port of Faw.
- The rock payment contract, as it is possible – according to the source, who requested anonymity – that 4 months will be needed for completion.
- The construction of the second phase of the tunnel for the port will start in September.
- Some of the preparatory works, such as installing the central concrete and making some payments, started 3 months ago.
- The contract for the five berths was started last September, when equipment was brought in to strengthen the soil by injecting cement supplies at the site of the fully completed berths.
- Bringing two excavators belonging to a Chinese company with some experimental excavation works for the quay front and the completion of part of the filling for the drain area and the pilot pile works.
- The construction of the “Faw – Umm Qasr” road has been started since last September, as the first layer of space for part of the road was spread by 20% after clearing mines from the effects of the past wars.
- The contract for the excavation of the canal and the basin of the great port of Faw, which was started at the end of last year.
The source concluded by saying that the percentage of completion of any of all five contracts for the Great Port of Faw does not exceed 10%, stressing that work is continuing in all the joints of the Great Port.