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New routes to Turkey


Travelling to Turkey is about to get a lot easier. New transport infrastructure projects in the pipeline and partnerships with China’s mega-builders could mean investment riches approaching down a new Silk Road.


Transport infrastructure has been the key to Turkey’s economic success since the earliest days of the Silk Road two thousand years ago. This week, Turkey took a great step towards future prosperity with a new and bold set of plans to upgrade transportation into and out of the country. 
Here is what the government plans to build over the next decade:
New airport for Kaş 
The Antalya coastline has been given a shot in the arm after it was revealed that Kaş would be getting its own regional airport. Often seen as the quiet cousin of boisterous Antalya city, the resort is renowned for unspoilt beauty, natural beaches and mountains.
The region is also a popular spot for British and German holidaymakers. So there is the potential to unlock the area to the discerning property hunter priced out of the eastern Mediterranean.
The Civil Aviation Directorate has given permission for the airport. Once final approvals and tenders have been opened, it is expected for the airport to serve five million passengers per year and contribute millions to Antalya's economy. It will be located close to Finike district, 200 kilometres from Antalya.
Third Istanbul airport
The jewel in the crown of Turkey’s mega-infrastructure projects, the third Istanbul airport, currently under construction, will also allow passengers to transit beyond the city to the rest of the country.
Expected to be operational by the end of 2018, it will eventually serve 200 million passengers and offer flights to 350 destinations across the globe. The number of active airports across Turkey has increased from 25 to 55 over the last decade, and the third Istanbul airport will be seen as the bridge to many resorts and destinations internally.
Express yourself
Not to be outdone by their high-flying cousins, the masters of the rails in Turkey have announced plans to introduce connections to Belgrade and Bucharest on the Istanbul-Sofia Express.
This is yet another connection into and out of Europe for the erstwhile investor looking at reaching their final destinations.
The express train between Istanbul and the Bulgarian capital Sofia started making stops in the Romanian capital Bucharest on Friday, with plans for a connection to the Serbian capital of Belgrade.
The China connection
In a nod to the potential investment tsunami that could be heading Turkey's way from China, the two countries have talked up greater connections and closer initiatives.
One such project being touted is the Belt and Road initiative, unveiled by the Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 to revive the ancient Silk Road. This promises strong connections among the global trade routes passing through Turkey.
Istanbul’s third airport, currently under construction, will allow passengers to transit quickly to all parts of the city and outwards to the rest of the country.
Such large-scale infrastructure investments may provide alluring opportunities to transport and logistics in the region. The spinoff could be potentially lucrative business opportunities from the Far East as Chinese airlines and freight companies that currently do not operate in Turkey may arrive.
As an example to underpin the partnership, the 533-kilometer-long Ankara-Istanbul high-speed railway was accomplished with a Turkish-Chinese partnership.
New high-speed rail line
Plans are being laid for a new high-speed rail link in Istanbul, which will include a route between Gebze-Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge and Istanbul's new airport.
The plan envisions high connectivity between the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge and the new airport. The line is projected to be 124km long and is expected to reduce time on the Istanbul-Edirne route to one hour.
Other new links
Other high-speed rail links will include Ankara-İzmir and Bursa-Bilecik, and are expected to be operational in 2019.
The drive to make Turkey an easier country to travel around is taking shape, and investors should be encouraged that better infrastructure will reap greater rewards in the future both for tourism and the real estate sector.