Ceremony For Laying Foundation Of Sarp Border Pass

HOPA - Hayati Yazici, Turkish State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, said Sunday Turkish government is modernizing 120 customs points throughout Turkey.

"We are in an effort to end difficulties at customs points," Yazici told.

A ceremony was held Sunday to lay the foundation of the Sarp border pass which is getting modernized by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) by a build-operate-transfer model.

Speaking at the ceremony, Yazici indicated that the development in friendly and brotherly country Georgia resembles Turkey`s development under the Justice and Development (AK) Party and such developments are good for the whole region.

"When AK Party came to the government, our trade volume with Georgia was only 240 million USD. The present trade volume between Turkey and Georgia is 850 million USD. We plan to increase our trade volume to one billion USD by the end of 2008," Yazici noted.

"Turkish companies are active in Georgia in industries involving telecommunications, port management, textiles, construction, food and banking. Turkish contractors in Georgia have assumed projects worth around 350 million USD," Yazici stressed.

"Our goal is to modernize all border passes in Turkey," Yazici said.

"The modernization of Sarp border pass will be completed in 12 months and cost 40,747,398 new Turkish liras," Yazici also said.

Meanwhile, Nikoloz Gilauri, Georgian Finance Minister, said that Russia was Georgia`s most important commercial partner until 2007.

"However, Turkey has become Georgia`s most important trade partner after 2007," Gilauri indicated.

"The Sarp border pass is highly prominent for both countries. The border pass project will positively contribute to commercial relations between Turkey and Georgia," Gilauri added.

On the other hand, TOBB chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu remarked that 40 percent of all commercial transactions in Turkey take place at land border passes.

"Accordingly, all efforts to make border passes efficient and effective are crucial for the success of the Turkish economy," Hisarciklioglu stated.

"Once the modernization of the Sarp border pass is completed, 500,000 motor vehicles and three million passengers will use the border pass annually," Hisarciklioglu noted.

"The modernization of the Sarp border pass will have an important impact on commercial ties with Georgia and Azerbaijan," Hisarciklioglu told.

"With the modernization of the Sarp border pass, the route of historical Silk Road will once again be alive. This project is a good example of the public sector cooperating with the private sector," Hisarciklioglu also told.

Once completed, the new Sarp border pass will be equipped with state of the art x-ray devices, special card readers, closed circuit security cameras, banks, markets and parking lots.

(SOL-AY)

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