Aliyev said at the ceremony that the 826-kilometer railroad is the "shortest and most reliable link between Asia and Europe".
The 849 km BTK programme is central to plans to create a rail corridor from the Caspian Sea to Europe via Turkey. It failed to win financial backing from the United States and the European Union because the railway deliberately avoided passing through Armenia, whose Soviet-era track would have offered the most direct route to Turkey.
The Republic of Azerbaijan, located at the strategic crossroads of Europe and Asia and nearby sizeable markets such as Turkey, China, Iran and Russian Federation, is poised to become the top choice for foreign investors aiming to expand their business in the region.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway will further strengthen Azerbaijani-Turkish relations, Erdem Eren, Turkish foreign policy expert and chief coordinator of the Beyaz Harekat political movement, told Trend Oct. 31.
Azerbaijan's Minister of Economy Shahin Mustafayev and Turkish Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci signed "The Memorandum of Understanding on the signing of the preferential trade agreement between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the Republic of Turkey". At an initial stage, this figure will be one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo.
Regional experts believe that BTK is emerging New Silk Road network of trade and transport corridors that are coming together between China and Europe.
As one of the land routes for China's Belt and Road initiative passes through Turkey, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the BTK Railway has gained significance as it is expected to provide the direct transfer of goods from Beijing to London in around 12 to 15 days.
Speaking at the inauguration, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the BTK railway had become a reality because of the friendship of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Georgia.
Initially the railway is expected to carry almost 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of freight annually before unlocking a freight transportation potential of up to 50 million tons per year.