Transport Policy and Infrastructure

Transport services are one of the very tangible areas where EU Turkey cooperation has evolved considerably. EU accession process has initiated and supported many reform initiatives in the rail, maritime, aviation and road sectors. Safety, security and quality standards of Turkish transport services and primarily rail infrastructure are primarily aligned to the EU legislation. Millions of European and Turkish citizens and businesses directly benefit from these joint initiatives in the transport policy field.

Transport sector plays a key role in defining the competitiveness of Turkish economy in its role as the backbone of logistics. Transport has a key role in facilitating regional integration and trade. The objectives of EU transport policy engagement in Turkey reflect the socio-economic development and growth targets of Turkey.

The EU is supporting Turkey in the transport field via a number of soft as well as major infrastructure projects covering areas of aviation, professional competence and training, accessibility, road safety, national level master planning, urban transport planning, non-motorised transport, promotion of intermodal transport, railways reform, creation of logistics hubs, maritime spatial planning, fleet renewal schemes, emissions and low carbon transport growth strategies and so on.

Beyond the projects, the EU – Turkish relations in the transport field are quite robust and vivid. Recently, EU and Turkey agreed to start comprehensive aviation negotiations to fully liberalise the aviation sector and the negotiations are expected to start in autumn 2016. In June 2016, Turkey has finalised definition of its trans-European core transport network (TEN-T) which was agreed and published by the EU. Now the agreed TEN-T network is eligible for financing by the EU institutions. Turkey and EU has been working closely to liberalise the railways sector and upgrade the infrastructure quality. So far, EU has provided 580 million euro of grant and rehabilitated around 1000 km of railways in Turkey.

In the upcoming period, EU anticipates, as elsewhere in the world, important social and environmental risks relating to planning decisions about transport systems in Turkey. In the national as well as urban context, transport can be a significant contributor of noise, community disruption, consumption of open space and degraded air quality. Transport is the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions and continued expansion of vehicle ownership and road traffic lead to high concentrations of air pollutants in the atmosphere, with serious respiratory and other health effects for the population, particularly in urban centres. EU, through its new financial assistance programs covering 2014-2020 period, will continue to support Turkey especially to achieve sustainability in the transport sector.