The connection between East and West, the central hub of transport routes and pipelines of the Eurasian continent - or rather Afro-Eurasian. Turkey

Because of its geographical position and for explicit choice of the international politics - The 'central state doctrine professed by the former Turkish Foreign Minister and then Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu '-, Turkey aspires to consolidate itself as a decisive component along the New Silk Road. A project that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan embraced with real enthusiasm and included into the rhetoric of the 'new Turkey', a country with more incisive relevance, both regional and global; while Davutoğlu defined the new political and economic agreements between the former Ottoman empire and the former Chinese empire as 'The awakening of history'.

Total infrastructural investment is significant. According to the latest statistics released by the Minister of Transport Ahmet Arslan, since 2002 - when Erdoğan's Akp party came to power - about 100 billion dollars have been spent in projects of all kinds, and 65 more will be used for the future completion of approximately 3500 small and large works. Ports (commercial, tourist), airports, high-speed lines, bridges, tunnels: making an exhaustive list is impossible. The characteristics of the main interventions are however common: research of international quality partners, financing through public-private partnerships, use of cutting-edge techniques and technologies (which are acquired by Turkish companies), choice of routes with strategic and non-electoral criteria, speed in completing the work.

High-speed railway is the most stimulated sector by this infrastructural innervation, but which is also experiencing the most serious delays: a real innovation in Anatolia, since the first route from Ankara to Eskişehir (towards Istanbul) started being operative in 2009 and the completion was in 2014, while the Ankara-Konya and the Konya-Eskişehir entered into service respectively in 2011 and 2013. The goals are extremely ambitious and have been announced in various government programs: building by 2023 - a date of great symbolic value because the centenary of the Republic will be celebrated - 10,000 kilometers of high speed railway and take the total extension of the railway network from 11,000 to over 25,000 kilometers, with a total investment of about 45 billion dollars only for high speed; among the lines under construction: the Istanbul-Izmir line towards the Aegean Sea, the Konya-Karaman-Mersin which will provide an outlet to the Mediterranean for the country's most dynamic manufacturing region.

Erdoğan himself repeatedly referred to railway projects as the 'the rail Silk Road' (demir ipekyolu, in Turkish). Especially referring to two of them: the tunnel under the Bosphorus (Marmaray) in operation since 29 October 2013 and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars line inaugurated on 29 October 2017, which form an almost uninterrupted link - apart from the necessary navigation on the Caspian - between London and Shanghai (this year will be completed the urban stretch of Istanbul, through the Marmaray, which will allow the passage of both high speed for passengers and goods).

Istanbul, thanks to new and increasingly ambitious projects, is destined to become an indispensable keystone of the corridors and commercial traffics from East to West, from South to North - and vice versa. In addition to the two pre-existing bridges, in the last few years other bridges have been completed: the Marmaray, which is a railway tunnel only, the third bridge on the Bosphorus, which is both a highway and a railway, a second tunnel, this time only highway for cars, while another three-story tunnel is currently under study, which will be like the third bridge, both road and railway, and will provide numerous intersections to the urban railway network (destined to develop from 45 kilometers in 2002 to around 1000 in 2023 and beyond).

The third bridge on the Bosphorus has two other peculiarities: the first is that it was built by a joint venture with Astaldi, who also built the bridge over the Izmit Bay, decisive to drastically reduce motorways travel times from Istanbul to Izmir, and the new bridge over the Golden Horn in Istanbul; the second is that close as it is to the Black Sea, it will be a transit point - with the high speed too - to and from the new grand airport (operational from the end of 2018, 200 million of passengers at its full capacity) and to the future 'Istanbul channel'- parallel to the Bosphorus - which, if realized, will absorb all commercial maritime traffic.

Above all, Turkey started a new mega infrastructure project of regional impact: a ring road around the sea of Marmara - the third bridge is a decongesting component, Astaldi is anyway building a section - which will clear Istanbul from heavy traffic, whose completion will be a suspension bridge over the Dardanelles expected to be the longest in the world. Astaldi is not involved in this project, however - despite the cooling down of the relations between Turkey and the EU - the passage in Anatolia of the new Silk roads is an extraordinary opportunity that Italian companies should not miss

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