When Istanbul's two sides were joined for the third time with the completion of the final deck of the Yavuz Sultan Selim (YSS) Bridge with a ceremony on Sunday, March 6, the chronic critics still may not have comprehended the significance of this bridge. Similar to the Marmaray, like the Eurasia Tunnel which will soon become active, the YSS is a mega-project connecting the three continents. In terms of G20 countries including mega-projects on their agenda to keep the global economic system going and to achieve sustainable growth, Turkey is one of the few countries continuing such large-scale projects without compromise.
While the majority of the world's leading economies have lost their concentration and motivation to implement such projects despite fluctuations in the global economic system and uncertainty in the financial field, Turkey is completing projects one by one, under the envious eye of the world despite issues such as terror which is pushed onto it, fire in the Middle East and the refugee problem, is success beyond commendation.
If we think the completion of these projects has meaning solely for Turkey, we would be mistaken. These projects are of vital importance for Azerbaijan and Georgia as well, even for China. These mega Turkish projects joining continents also mean that the Caucasus, Azerbaijan and Georgia will become integrated with the world. If Iranians can overcome the enmity of the ongoing Persian bureaucracy despite the help we provided and our support during their tough times, this is actually a project that will integrate Iran with the world, too. Hence, the YSS Bridge is not merely a trade bridge, but also a diplomacy bridge. We are talking about a bunch of projects that remind us why Turkey should not lose its self-confidence, regardless of all the problems pushed onto it. We are a source of inspiration all countries in Eurasia seeking a way out. We are talking about integrated mega-projects that will make Turkey the No. 1 transport and logistics junction point of Eurasia with the İzmit Gulf Transit Bridge and the Çanakkale Bridge, which I hope and guess will start being planned shortly after it.
Global logistics center
The circle of fire around Turkey, the chaotic situation in Syria and Iraq, disorder involving Russia and the refugee issue on which we could not make desired progress with the EU, are occupying our agenda. Hence, it is natural that what has been happening in the South China Sea, why China is building a gigantic military base there, why the US is performing a military drill together with certain countries, may not have drawn your attention much. Yet developments in the Asia-Pacific, which seem like they might be areas of military and political conflict for the next 10 years, may lead to results concerning Turkey as well. Taking into consideration the critical importance of the Malacca Strait in terms of all Asia-Pacific countries, any kind of development that may interrupt international maritime transport in the region, is currently forcing China to open new trade corridors through land.
In this case, world economy will be discussing a new highway and railway transport corridor based along a route from the Pacific to Atlantic coasts, which we can refer to as the new Silk Road. Turkey building mega-bridges with a railway system passing through its center with the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, makes it an “indispensable” country in terms of integration of the global transport network.
This will also make the Marmara, north Aegean and west Black Sea a global junction point and logistics center in highway, railway, maritime and airline transport with the addition of the five-terminal third airport to be completed in Istanbul. We are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars worth of investment and value-added works that will bring trillions of dollars to Turkey. This will also make Turkey a center of attraction in terms of a globally qualified workforce, while also forming a process that will be vital point in the “Istanbul regional finance and trade center” project.
The EU's tragic lack of foresight
With a delegation led by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey made a historic proposal at the Turkey-EU Summit in Brussels. The content of the proposal and solutions suggested are flawless. But unfortunately, the EU side is face-to-face with the veto threat of Hungary. In the upcoming week, Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as leading members of the EU are going to be tested in terms of plausibility, sincerity and avoiding double standards at the EU Leaders Summit. We are going to see both Germany and Merkel tested in terms of EU leadership. A country as small as Hungary implying or talking about using its veto right, is the real lead actors trying to file down part of Turkey's clear demands without coming out to the front. This is the first time in the history of its relationship with the EU that Turkey has clear power to negotiate. Let us not waste this opportunity on the EU's tragic lack of foresight.