Türkiye as an infrastructure pivot?

Between the 2 nd century BC and the 15 th century, the Silk Road, ending in Istanbul, was the main traditional route between China and the Middle East. Europe has developed since the Renaissance and Istanbul (then Constantinople) and Türkiye have evolved into an ever more important trading and commercial hub between the East and the West up to today. Since the turn of the century, the Turkish government has massively invested in Türkiye’s transport and energy infrastructure, to the point that the country is ideally positioned to play a globally unique role as a transport and increasingly an energy hub. Moreover, because of the war in Ukraine and conflict in the Middle East, along with a new geopolitical situation pitching the ‘West against the rest,’ this process has been accelerated and put Türkiye in the position of an infrastructure pivot between the East and the West. From being the terminus of the Silk Road, Türkiye is now at its core again.

In this issue of Network Industries Quarterly, we present and discuss the gradual ascent of Türkiye to become a global or at least a regional ‘infrastructure pivot,’ as we call it. The three articles that make up this issue illustrate the pivotal role of Türkiye in aviation – both through its national flag carrier, Turkish Airlines, and even more so through its newly built Istanbul airport – in gas and railways. These sectors are in different stages of development, with aviation clearly being the most advanced infrastructure pivot, while the potential of railways as a regional infrastructure pivot still needs to be realised. In this introductory article, we briefly highlight and discuss the four main factors that have been contributing and continue to contribute to this evolution.

Muzaffer Eroglu

Matthias Finger