I have been writing for a while that the Ukrainian War has been causing serious ruptures in the Eurasian geography. The biggest sign of this is shaped by the will to restructure in transportation/logistics/energy routes, which are the vital power source of many countries.
One of them was already implemented last week.
The newly established China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan-Afghanistan corridor began to be tested.
This will actually continue as a mixed route. For now, road and railway networks will be used together with some physical and economic problems. For example, the mountain ranges along the China-Kyrgyzstan border indicate that there is still time for the railway.
The new mixed route starts from the northwest of China, ie East Turkestan, then extends directly through Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan without entering Afghanistan. From the historical city of Kashgar, the Osh region of Kyrgyzstan can be reached by road. Meanwhile, the capital of Satuk Bugra Khan is Kashgar. The person who wrote the first Turkish dictionary is Mahmud from Kashgar. This distance, which is approximately 500 km away, will actually be realized by road for now, although the project plans a railway. After Osh, it will arrive in Afghanistan via Central Asia via a railway line.
The said route was determined by the joint decision of the relevant state companies in August and the first 2 containers left Kashgar on 13 September. The trial period will last 3 months. Target arrival time is 2 weeks.
This will also be a preliminary test for the implementation of the Trans-Afghan railway, which will connect Uzbekistan to Pakistani ports.
Karachi port (Pakistan) still has an important place in cargo transportation between China and Afghanistan. Afghanistan has pledged to reduce tariffs to avoid delays on this line. Of course, how obedient is debatable!
This route, which extends from Kashgar to the Kyrgyzstan border, is also planned to be connected to the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway project.
On the other hand, this new mix should not be confused with the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway line. Because the potential of the Central Asian-based railway line is much higher. It will pass through commercial centers and farmland. It will shorten the distance by 900 km. In other words, about 7-8 days… In this plan, which excludes Russia, it is planned to extend through Central Asia to Turkey and Southeastern Europe. This new orientation offers great opportunities for landlocked countries such as Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.
Of course, it is not a coincidence that these two routes are being implemented simultaneously. The war in Ukraine and the reservations about Russia are strengthening China in the region and prompting other countries to act quickly.
The above developments require us to voice two summary sentences for Turkey.
First, if Turkey implements the right strategy and does not stay away from these developments, it will be able to find a serious opportunity on these newly formed lines. Secondly, how important the East Turkestan area is for China’s opening to the world is another strategic point that needs to be examined for Turkey.