Abu Dhabi, sovereign wealth fund ADQ, is discussing with Turkey to construct a railway over Istanbul’s Bosphorus strait, connecting the megacity’s European and Asian sides as part of a planned trade corridor linking Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, reports Bloomberg.
According to Turkish officials familiar with the matter, the railway would cross the Yavuz Sultan Selim suspension bridge, one of the world’s longest and widest, built-in 2016 for $3 billion under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The potential railway deal adds to a series of investments and partnerships explored between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates after the UAE pledged $10 billion in July to support Turkey’s economy. The nations seek to boost bilateral trade to $40 billion by 2030, with the UAE identifying energy, logistics, tourism, and agriculture as key sectors, a UAE official said.
The railway across the Bosphorus aims to advance Turkey’s strategic location between two continents to become a vital link in a new trade route between Western Europe and East Asia. The officials stated that Turkey is working to integrate Gulf countries into its railway and highway networks to facilitate the movement of goods.
Further infrastructure projects with Gulf nations are expected to support Turkey’s trade route ambitions.
The Bosphorus railway plan comes as President Erdogan convinces Gulf states to back a $17 billion trade corridor from Iraq’s Basra port. This follows the U.S. and India agreeing on a competing route with support from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, seeking to counter China’s growing influence.
Turkey also proposes transport links through southern Armenia or Iran to neighboring Azerbaijan, reviving ancient Silk Road trade channels to open a new passage between Europe and Asia.