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Turkish bridge symbolizes cooperation with China

China Daily | Updated: 2022-08-27 09:54
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The Turkish Air Force aerobatic team performs during the inauguration of the 1915 Canakkale Bridge on March 18. [Photo/Agencies]

ISTANBUL-The 1915 Canakkale Bridge in Turkiye, spanning the Dardanelles Strait in the country's northwest, has proved a godsend for commuters since the structure opened in March.

As one of the landmark projects of the Belt and Road Initiative, the bridge's construction has contributed significantly to Turkiye's economic development, job creation, energy conservation, and emissions reductions, according to analysts.

With the bridge, Turks are no longer dependent on the one-hour ferry journey between the two sides of the strait. They can now cross between the nation's European and Asian sides in six minutes by car. And Turks have been thankful for the convenience the bridge has brought them.

"Do you know what will be the annual profit of our country with this investment in time, fuel consumption, and reduction of carbon emissions? 415 million euros ($422 million)," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during the inauguration ceremony for the bridge.

According to calculations, the president said, the project would contribute 5.3 billion euros to the economy in production and job opportunities for 118,000 people, and 2.4 billion euros to the national income.

"In other words, this bridge is not only profitable for our country, but a project that our country is proud of in every way," he said.

China and Turkiye established a strategic cooperative relationship in 2010 and bilateral cooperation entered a new historical stage.

The Canakkale Bridge, the fourth bridge across the Eurasian continent, stands as a symbol of the growing friendship between the two countries.

China's Sichuan Road and Bridge Group participated in the construction of the bridge, a two-tower, three-span suspension bridge with six lanes in both directions.

The main span of the bridge is 2,023 meters long, symbolizing the year 2023, which is to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Turkiye.

The bridge sits at the western end of the Sea of Marmara, which lies in the Mediterranean climate zone. Hail storms, torrential rains, and high winds may come at any time. Walking down its 3,800-meter-long catwalk is equivalent to climbing a mountain of over 3,000 meters.

During construction, the team had to travel to and from the catwalk every day.

"We were on a tight schedule and the task was heavy. The beginning was hard and decisive," said Chen Junfeng, a field manager at the Chinese company.

Liu Yuhua, minister counselor of economy and commerce at the Chinese embassy in Turkiye, said Turkiye was one of the first countries to support the China-proposed BRI.


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