Economy, Domestic Economy

Alternative Routes to Europe Proposed to Replace Turkey

Alternative Routes to Europe Proposed to Replace TurkeyAlternative Routes to Europe Proposed to Replace Turkey

The Ministry of Roads and Urban Development has advised companies shipping to Europe to avoid routes passing through Turkey, in the latest sign of how Iranian transit authorities have become increasingly worried by political developments in the east of Turkey.

Several Iranian trucks have over the past weeks become the target of arson attacks in Turkey, which Ankara blames on armed forces affiliated to Kurdistan’s Workers’ Party otherwise known as PKK. Iran demanded Ankara to guarantee the safety of Iranian transit and property but Tehran has found results so far unsatisfying, indicating its lacking confidence in Turkey’s ability to stem the violence.

“Mohammad Javad Atchian, senior official at the Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization, told IRNA that “considering the recent instability inside Turkey, transport companies have the ability to ship to Europe via other routes.”

The ministry has proposed several alternative routes. One route is through Azerbaijan, Russia and Belarus. Another would follow Armenia, Georgia, the Black Sea and then into Romania or Bulgaria. Atrchian also points out that goods can be shipped to Russia through Russia’s Caspian Sea port of Bandar Astrakhan.

Compared to the mainstream Turkish way through the Bazargan-Dogubayazit border, these routes are more expensive and take more time as they entail switching to naval routes or making a large northern detour. The highway running through Armenia also crosses four significant mountain passes, a feature not shared by the relatively flat Turkish route.

On August 12, Iran closed the Bazargan-Dogubayazit for several hours after a first arson attack was executed. However, Atrchian confirms that transit is currently moving at normal speed at the border crossing, saying that: “Although Turkey has blocked these borders, the Bazargan border continues to operate at normal pace.”