A law liberalising the Turkish rail sector came into force on 1st May 2013. Hitherto, the railways were controlled by the State but this new law creates an opportunity for the private sector to participate in the provision of railway infrastructure and train services.

Train services

Under these new arrangements, there could be two types of train operator – the new state train operator (TCDD Tasimacilik Anonim Sirketi) and, provided they are authorised by the Ministry of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications, private companies.

It is anticipated that train operators will enter into concession agreements for the provision of public services. There could be open access operators too.

Infrastructure

The new law provides that public or private entities may be authorized by the Ministry to build and operate railway infrastructure.

There is a mechanism for the State to acquire land where it is needed by a private entity to make a connection or develop new track. The private entity would be required to pay for the land and would only get a time limited right to use the new infrastructure with the land interest ultimately reverting to the Turkish Treasury. There is also provision for third parties gaining access to land which is not required for providing rail services to allow those third parties to operate in those areas.

The regulations which will govern these arrangements has yet to be issued so a lot of detail remains to be resolved.