On 30 October, 2017 the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was officially unveiled.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, first lady Mehriban Aliyeva, President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his spouse Emine Erdogan, Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakitjan Sagintayev, Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Abdullah Aripov as well as delegations from Tajikistan and Turkmenistan participated at the august event.
President Ilham Aliyev speaking at the opening ceremony noted that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway – a new upgrade project for the Eurasian space – was the restoration of the ancient Silk Road on steel highways. Then the president gave information on the history and importance of the project. He also informed participants on benefits of the project not only for participating countries, but also for Central Asian countries such as Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, as well as Afghanistan that will facilitate access for them to European and world markets. So the line was intended to transport one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of freight at the initial stage. The capacity would then reach 3 million passengers and 17 million tons of cargo.
This railway would have a strong impact on tourism development in the region. The operation of the railway was the greatest contribution to stability in the region. The basis of this contribution was the unshakable friendship and brotherhood of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.
Then President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakitzhan Sagintayev and Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov made speeches.
At the opening ceremony the heads of state and government hammered the nails of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and launched the transmitting device. Thus, the first freight train moving through the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was dispatched.
In the end heads of state and government left for Alat railway station via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway from Alat port where the opening ceremony continued.
TurkPA Secretary General Jandos Asanov attended the opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.