Turkey is planning to open a total of nine new border crossings with Iran, Iraq and Georgia over the next two years to facilitate booming trade with its neighbors.
Customs and Trade Minister Hayati Yazıcı has given instructions for four new border crossings each with Iraq and Georgia and another with Iran, Anatolia News Agency reported.
The new crossing with Iran, expected to become operational in 2013 as the fourth between the two countries, will be at Dilucu in Iğdır province. Turkish and Iranian officials are planning a joint field visit soon to choose the exact location for the gate.
At the Iraqi frontier, where the Habur border gate is already overwhelmed, the construction of a second crossing in the Aktepe-Bacuka area in Şırnak province was agreed last week when Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari visited Ankara. Construction is planned for next year and the opening for 2013.
Another crossing is planned at Ovaköy for 2013 to cater mainly for small vehicles and trains when the Turkey-Iraq railway project is completed. Two other gates with Iraq are planned at Derecik and Üzümlü in Hakkari province.
Ankara has also drawn up projects to add four new border crossings to the existing two with Georgia after bilateral trade exceeded $1 billion, growing five times over the past eight years.
Construction is planned to start in the coming weeks for a new gate at Çıldır-Aktaş in Ardahan province. Another border gate to be inaugurated next year in the same province will be at Cambaz, intended to serve also a train station on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad.
Turkish officials are in contact with Georgian counterparts for two other crossings, at Muratlı and Camili in Artvin province. The crossings will be designed mainly to make life easier for Turkish villagers in the mountainous region during harsh winters by allowing them to use a road via Georgia for transport.