TURKEY: Liberalisation of the Turkish market is due to take effect on June 21, following the announcement of the formal launch of operating company TCDD Tașımacılık in the government’s official journal on June 4.

The establishment of TCDD Tașımacılık marks the vertical separation of the former national railway TCDD, which will in future act as an infrastructure manager and traffic management authority. However, TCDD will be able to contract out any of its activities to outside bodies, with the exception of traffic management.

The government has agreed to underwrite the operating deficits of TCDD and TCDD Tașımacılık until May 2018, after which the government will only directly fund the construction of new lines, high speed rolling stock acquisition and major route modernisation projects. Subsidised regional passenger services will be opened up to competitive tender from May 2018.

Industry insiders report that the first open access freight operators are likely to begin operations in around six months’ time, once the relevant certification and licensing processes have been completed by the Directorate-General for Railways. A national network management statement is expected to be published imminently.