GCC-Europe rail network on way
Manama, September 2, 2008
Planners are already mapping out possible rail routes from Bahrain and other GCC states to Europe, via Turkey, thanks to a proposal by His Majesty King Hamad.
A proposed GCC rail link to Turkey could become a reality 'in the next five to six years', Turkish Ambassador Osman Haldun said on Monday.
It would ultimately lead to the Gulf region being connected to Europe by rail, he told our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
'Once there is a railway to Turkey, a connection to Europe is the natural thing to happen after that,' said Haldun.
People may soon take a train ride from Manama to Paris, he said.
'This is the future and once it happens, it would become extremely easy to move a large number of people between these two diverse parts of the world,' said Haldun.
'Looking at the world scenario now, we feel there will be a need for such a link very soon.'
His Majesty suggested the rail link during his official visit to Turkey last month.
'The way forward is to start implementing it,' said Haldun.
'Everyone is extremely interested and wants to see it implemented.'
He said huge interest was generated in Turkey after King Hamad's proposal, with observers pointing out that it was a well thought of strategic vision, for a bright economic and political future for the region.
Haldun said the easiest and the shortest link to Turkey would be through Iraq or Syria.
'I do not see Iraq being a very favourable option at the moment, but a few years down the line, it could be the shortest connection,' he said.
Under the proposal, half of the project would be carried out by Saudi Arabia while the rest would be taken care of by the other GCC states.
One of the suggestions is to set up a link from Oman, going on to the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and then to Turkey.
Another says the network would start from Oman and go on to the UAE, through Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey.
Haldun said relations between the Arab world, including Bahrain and Turkey were at an all time high and this link would cement those relations forever.
'It would mean an economic windfall for the people of the two regions,' he said.- TradeArabia News Service