Updated: 13/07/2020

Chapter 14 - Transport Policy


The transport policy of the European Union aims to enhance the operation of the internal market via providing safe, secure, efficient and environmentally friendly transport services.

EU transport policies aim at fostering clean, safe and efficient travel throughout Europe, underpinning the internal market of goods and the right of citizens to travel freely throughout the EU. Within this context, transport policy priorities are defined as follows: setting up balanced structures of transport among different modes, improving intermodality and interconnections and overcoming bottlenecks. 

Since users constitute the focal point of the transport policy and there is a need for the sustainability of the transport services; common, uniform and mandatory implementations have been put into force through the adoption of new legislation in the area of road safety, passenger rights, social aspects and working conditions of the sector, decreasing negative environmental effects. 

According to the Treaty of Rome, transport is one of the areas for which common policies have to be adopted (Article 3, paragraph (e) of the Treaty). Transport Policy is in the center of the idea of a fully liberalized internal market and of the idea of the freedom of travel.



The Transport Policy chapter includes the following topics:

- Road Transport
- Rail Transport
- Maritime Transport
- Air Transport

The main areas regulated by the EU Transport Policy Chapter are as the following; 

The main principles of road transport policy are creating a sustainable, efficient, secure and safe road transport system via decreasing its negative environmental effects. In framework of these principles, the EU aims to promote efficient transport of passengers and goods via road, enabling fair competition, harmonizing safer and more environmentally friendly technical standards, providing a minimum level for financial and social harmonization, and non-discriminatory implementation of road transport rules of the Union. EU acquis in this field mainly deal with the issues such as; access to the market and pursuit of the occupation (Regulations (EC) 1071/2009(EC) 1072/2008 and (EC) 1073/2009), working hours, driving and resting periods and usage of digital and smart tachograph (Regulation (EC) 165/2014), minimum annual taxation and road usage charging of vehicles (Directives 1999/62/EC and 2011/76/EC), driver licenses (Directive 2006/126/EC), maximum weight and dimensions (Directives 96/53/EC and 2015/719/EU), transport of dangerous goods by road (Directive 2008/68/EC), minimum safety requirements in road tunnels (Directive 2004/54/EC).

EU rail transport legislation regulates the areas of market liberalization, interoperability and institutional framework, rail safety, and access to infrastructure, internal market, freight transport, passenger rights, employment and working conditions of the sector. The main reference legislation regarding the market liberalization is Directive 2012/34/EU establishing a single European railway area. Due to the fact that rail transport was state monopoly during the 90’s, market liberalization in the rail transport sector followed a gradual opening started with the opening of freight market and followed by passenger transport since the beginning of 2000’s. With the 4th Railway Package adopted in 2016, full liberalisation of the rail market was envisaged. The Package is composed of a technical pillar (European Railway Agency, Interoperability and Rail Safety) and a market pillar (directive for the opening of the national rail passenger services). With the full enforcement of these regulations, it is envisaged to reach the target of the Single European Railway Area.  Interoperability which aims at unhampered rail transport services among the Member States is regulated by Directive (EU) 2016/797 of the European Parliament and of the Councıl of 11 May 2016 on the interoperability of the rail system within the European Union.

Due to global dimension of maritime transport, this mode is mostly regulated by participation to or transposition of international conventions adopted by International Labor Organization (ILO) in the area of working conditions or International Maritime Organization (IMO) in the other areas of maritime transport. Within the framework of EU maritime legislation the issues of market access conditions and fair competition, state aid in maritime sector, maritime safety and security, working conditions and protection of marine environment are regulated. Since 2000’s, especially after the ERIKA and PRESTIGE accidents, maritime safety has turned to be the number one agenda item of the Commission. Therefore three maritime safety packages has been adopted since 2000. The last maritime safety package was adopted on 23 April 2009 and that package regulates the rules regarding port and flag state requirements, class societies, accident investigation, liability of the carrier, insurance and traffic monitoring. The most recent document on maritime transport is the “Communication on Strategic goals and recommendations for the EU’s maritime transport policy until 2018”. In this Communication the Commission presents the main strategic objectives for the European maritime transport system up to 2018. The Strategy identifies key areas like competitive, safe, secure, clean and quality shipping, where action by the EU will strengthen the competitiveness of the sector while enhancing its environmental performance.  From 1 January 2020, the maximum sulphur content of marine fuels is reduced to 0.5% (down from 3.5%) globally – reducing air pollution and protecting health and the environment. Furhermore the European Green Deal, presented by the President of the Commission Ursula von der Leyen in December 2019, sets out further action to make shipping more sustainable such as the extension of the European emissions trading to the maritime sector.

Finally, acquis on air transport covers the issues such as; access to the market (Regulation (EC) 1008/2008), air traffic management (Regulations (EC) 549/2004(EC) 550/2004(EC) 551/2004(EC) 552/2004(EC) 730/2006(EC) 219/2007(EC) 255/2010), aviation safety (Regulations (EC) 216/2008(EC) 996/2010, Directive 2003/42/EC), aviation security (Regulation (EC) 300/2008), environment (Regulations (EC) 71/2008(EC) 1702/2003), Directive 2002/30/EC), ground handling (Directive 96/67/EC), protection of consumers (Regulations (EC) 261/2004(EC) 80/2009(EC) 1107/2006). With these legislation, the EU aviation sector became a free and harmonized market.



Although there are provisions for the Common Transport Policy in the Treaty of Rome, it took about 30 years to shape European Transport Policies after the Treaty. The Policy’s political, institutional and budgetary fundamentals were strengthened with the Treaty of the EU (Treaty of Maastricht, 1993) and the Treaty presented the concept of ‘Trans-European Networks”, and all these made Europe-wide transport infrastructure planning possible.

Articles 90-100 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (Treaty of Lisbon, 2009) are containing the provisions about transport, and via these provisions Member States accept the legislative prerogative of the Union.

1992 White Paper of the Commission mainly deals with the issues about liberalization of transport market and within a ten years period, the market has almost fully been opened to competition. The only sector in which fully liberalization could not be realized in this period is railway sector.

With the development of the Common Transport Policy, the consumer prices decreased while the quality of service and the number of options increased. On the other hand, the policy did not developed in a fully harmonized and regular manner and problems like congestion on main roads, airports and main rail corridors, damages on human health and environment, accidents etc. could not have been eliminated.

The second White Paper was published by the Commission in 2001 and a ten-year perspective for Common Transport Policy was created. Within the White Paper, proposals for setting up balanced structures of transport among different modes, improving intermodality and interconnections and overcoming bottlenecks were developed, resource constraints were addressed. After the White Paper, compulsory and harmonized legislation was adopted for aviation safety, safety agencies were established for railway, aviation and maritime transport, passenger rights and social aspect of transport policy developed. Besides, after 11 September 2001 attacks security policies for different types of transport modes and critical infrastructure were created.

The last White Paper published in 2011 presents the proposals for a sustainable development of transport systems of the EU until year 2050. It is predicted that the greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced 60 % in 2050 compared to 1990, and rate of oil-based transport and the congestions will be decreased.


European Commission DG Mobility and Transport
Website for EU Legislation on Transport Policy
Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure
DG of Road Transport Regulation
DG of Highways
DG of Civil Aviation
DG of State Airports Authority
DG of Railway Transport Regulation
DG of State Railways
EU Delegation to Turkey



The explanatory meetings of this chapter were held on June 26-29, 2006 and the Country Sessions were held on September 25-28, 2006. The opening of this chapter to negotiations with Turkey is still under discussion at the European Council and the screening report of this chapter has not been sent to Turkey. On the other hand, this chapter is one of the eight chapters which have Ankara Agreement Protocol issue as opening benchmark.



Chapter of Transport Policy involves the adoption and implementation of the EU acquis in the fields of road transport, rail transport, air transport and maritime transport. Information will be given about the studies and developments carried under these fields.


Road Transport

In the field of road transport, the objective is to have reputable and strong road transport carriers, which are at the same time financially and professionally competent, in order to institutionalize road transport in Turkey. Important progress has been achieved in alignment in this field and efforts to strengthen the implementation capacity are continuing. In order to improve road traffic safety, the legislative alignment to the EU acquis on social, technical and safety conditions is ongoing. In this respect, the digital tachograph system became obligatory on January 1, 2011 for vehicles registered after June 16, 2010 with a mass of more than 3,5 tones (for trucks) and carrying more than 9 persons (for buses) used in international transport. Turkey achieved its adaptation to the system via completing required legal and structural harmonization. For the vehicles used in national transport, digital tachographs has been compulsory as of 30 June 2014 with a transition period that is still ongoing.

Additionally, Turkey became a party to the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) on 22 February 2010.  By-law on Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road which contains provisions with regards to the implementation of this Agreement was published in the Official Gazette number 28801 on 24 October 2013. Considering the recent changes in the relevant international agreements and standards, including the annexes of ADR, previous by-laws were abolished and the new version of By-law on Transport of Dangerous Goods was published in the Official Gazette No. 30754 of 24 April 2019

Regarding the alignment of driver licenses with EU standards, Turkey became party to the Convention on Road Traffic and the European Agreement supplementing this convention and realized the required changes in the Law on Road Traffic (No. 2918) and the By-Law on Road Traffic. The new Turkish driving licences harmonized with the EU acquis were started to be issued with the very beginning of the year 2016.  Besides, a new circular was issued on 17.11.2012 (OG No: 28470) for scrapping commercial vehicles manufactured before 1990 till the end of 2013.

By-law on Operation of Tunnels was published in the Official Gazette No. 29435 of 4 August 2015 to harmonize the Directive 2004/54/EC on Minimum Safety Requirements for Tunnels in the Trans-European Road Network. By-Law on Road Infrastructure Safety Management in line with relevant EU legislation was published in the Official Gazette No. 30572 of 21 October 2018.


Rail Transport

As regards rail transport, the main purpose is to achieve the gradual liberalization of the rail transport market by opening it to the international competition and separating the functions of infrastructure managers and railway undertakings. In this context, Law on Liberalization of Turkish Rail Transport Sector was issued on 01.05.2013 (OG No: 28634). With this law, Turkish State Railways (TCDD) was reorganized as the infrastructure operator and a new state-owned company named TCDD Taşımacılık A.Ş. was established as a train operator.

Directorate General of Railway Regulation which was established by the Decree Law numbered 655 and published on the Official Journal dated 1 November 2011 on the Organization and Responsibilities of the Ministry of Transport, Maritime and Communication was the main authority responsible from the equitable and sustainable operation of this new liberalized structure of the sector. With the Presidential Decree No: 56 dated 17 January 2020, DG for Regulation of Railways is merged with DG for Regulation of Dangerous Goods and Combined Transport and DG for Regulation of Road Transport under the name of General Directorate for Regulation of Transport Services.

The accounts of TCDD and TCDD Taşımacılık A.Ş. were separated as of 1 January 2017. With the liberalization of the railway sector, other public legal entities or private incorporated companies registered in the Turkish trade registry can become railway infrastructure managers (except for the duty to regulate and manage railway traffic) and train operators, provided that they are authorized by DGRR. Network Statements for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 were published.

The first tariffs prepared by the Capacity Management Department of TCDD in the direction of the capacity requests of TCDD Taşımacılık A.Ş. and İzmir Suburban Transport JSC (IZBAN) entered into force in the period of 01.01.2017 - 09.12.2017.

OMSAN Lojistik AŞ and Körfez Ulaştırma AŞ have become the first private freight train operators and İZBAN has become the first private passenger train operator in Turkish rail sector by applying to DGRR and they have submitted infrastructure capacity requests to make rail transport in the period of 2018 and they acquired the capacity allocation by 2018 General Tariff.

By-law on Access to the Railway Infrastructure and Capacity Allocation was published in the Official Gazette No. 29343 of 2 May 2015. By-law on Registration of Railway Vehicles, By-law on Transport of Dangerous Goods by Rail and By-law on Investigation of Railway Accidents and Incidents were published in the Official Gazette No. 29418 of 16 July 2015. By-Law on Railway Safety was published in the Official Gazette No. 29537 of 19.11.2015. By-law on Public Service Obligation for the Railway Passenger Transport was published in the Official Gazette No. 29807 of 20 August 2016.

Furthermore, within the realm of transport of dangerous goods by rail, Regulation concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail (RID) – Appendix C to COTIF were fully transposed into national legislation via By-law on Transport of Dangerous Goods by Rail (Official Gazette No. 29418 of 16 July 2015).  Instruction on the Training on the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Rail entered into force with the Minister's Approval No. 71095 of 22 October 2015. As regards training activities in rail transport, 6 training centers were authorized concerning RID.


Maritime Transport

As regards maritime transport, remarkable progress was achieved, which is the outcome of continuous efforts for the improvement of the safety record of the Turkish fleet. Placement of the Turkish flag from high risk black list category to low risk white list in the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control is a clear indicator of improvements in the area of maritime safety. 

Maritime surveillance is an indispensable component of maritime safety and security. Turkey has been expressing her intention in taking part in EU’s Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) Data Centre, AIS (Automatic Identification System) and Network for Mediterranean and Vessel Traffic and Monitoring System (VTMIS). In the sub-committee meeting in 2009 in Ankara, Commission informed the Turkish side about the Council decision of December 11, 2008 on LRIT. The Decision is based on politically motivated criteria (Additional Protocol).  However, Turkey would like to reiterate that she is expecting a positive response to her cooperative efforts in this area. During the last year the Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs (UMA) has prepared a Pre-Accession Sector Strategy and identified priority policy areas for short-term actions. The Directorate General for Coastal Safety and Salvage Operations established a long range identification and tracking system (LRIT) and the Turkish national LRIT data center is integrated with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the International Mobile Satellite Organisation (IMSO).

During the EU alignment process, Turkey has become party to most of the international conventions in the area of maritime transport. Turkey became a party to Protocol on Limitation on Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC 1996). Laws regarding becoming party to SOLAS-78, 74, MARPOL Annexes III and IV, the 2000 Protocol on Preparedness, Response and Co-operation to Pollution Incidents by Hazardous and Noxious Substances the Protocol of 2010 to the Convention (HNS Protocol 2010), Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems in Ships (AFS Convention), Maritime Labour Convention and the 2001 International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage was enacted. In 2014, Turkey became party to the Ballast Water Management Convention, the Convention on the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, and Annex VI of the International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. The Decision numbered 2016/8498 on Participation to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic was published on the Official Gazette numbered 29652 and dated March 13, 2016. Turkey also successfully completed its voluntary International Maritime Organization member audit in 2014, resulting in minor findings. 

Ministry of Transport and Infrasrtructure (with the Decree Law 655, Undersecretariat for Maritime Affairs has been reorganized as three directorate generals within the Ministry of Transport, Maritime and Communication. With the Presidential Decree No: 56 dated 17 January 2020, General Directorate for Regulation of Maritime and Inland Waters and General Directorate  for Merchant Marine are organized under the name of General Directorate of Maritime Affairs. ) also initiated a comprehensive annual training program on oil pollution preparedness and emergency response. Constructions of Emergency Response Centers began in 2006, funding from national financial resources. Within this framework, building works for a National Response Centre in Tekirdağ and a Regional Response Centre in Antalya were completed in 2019.

Turkey has adopted all the necessary legislation in order to ensure alignment with the acquis on a Community Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Information System (VTMS).Technological improvements are further continued with the establishment of Izmir, Izmit and Mersin VTSs. Izmit, Izmir and Mersin VTSs have been operational respectively in 2016, 2017 and 2019.

In order to facilitate maritime traffic management and enhance the electronic clearance of the ships at ports, a “port single window system” was established with the coordination between Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure and Ministry of Trade and the system is operational as of September 2018.

The certification system called “Green Port/Eco Port” established in 2014 is carried on by the MoTI. After the establishment of sectoral criteria by the MoTI, a protocol has been signed with Turkish Standardization Institute to cooperate in the process of port audits. In June 2017, 11 ports which meet criteria put by the Ministry are certificated as Green Port in Turkey.

By-law on Transport of Dangerous Goods by Sea was published in the Official Gazette No.  29284 of 3 March 2015 and entered into force. By-law on Training and Authorization of Training Centers on Transport of Dangerous Goods by Sea within the scope of IMDG Code was published in the Official Gazette No. 29601 of 22 January 2016. In this regard, the IPA funded Twinning Project “TR2011/0314.08 - Improvement of Maritime Safety Regarding Handling of Dangerous Goods at Ports and Coastal Facilities” was implemented between April 2015 and June 2016. Around 300 staff from the MoTI, private sector and port authorities was trained on IMDG Code, Fumigation and CTU Code.


Air Transport

Regarding air transport, full harmonization with EU legislation has the perspective of full membership. On the other hand, regulations on occurrence reporting, on rating of air traffic controllers, on licensing of maintenance staff, on safety assessments of domestic and foreign aerial vehicles, on carriage of liquids on airplanes, on computerized reservation systems and on passenger rights have been implemented in accordance with the acquis. Furthermore, an EU Twinning Project to strengthen the institutional and administrative capacity of the Turkish Directorate General of Civil Aviation was completed. Another EU-funded project aiming at constructing a civil aviation academy in Istanbul is ongoing.

The EU-Turkey Horizontal Aviation Agreement, which will constitute a new legal basis for relations in the aviation field has been initialed on March 25, 2010. However, it was not signed by the Parties. In the new Aviation Strategy of the EU adopted on 7 December 2015, the Commission recommended to the Council the issuance of authorizations to negotiate comprehensive EU-level air transport agreements with certain countries and regions, including Turkey. Following a series of meetings among relevant Ministries and stakeholders, it was decided that initiating negotiations for a comprehensive agreement with the EU is important in terms of Turkey’s interests and therefore EU authorities had been informed that Turkey is ready to negotiate the signature of a comprehensive air transport agreement. The Transport, Telecommunication and Energy Council of 6-7 June 2016 has adopted mandates which will enable the Commission to launch negotiations on comprehensive air transport agreements with key partners including Turkey.

In this respect, the first round of negotiations was launched on November 9-11th, 2016 in Brussels. A set of formal and informal meetings have been held so far. However, on July 15, 2019, in light of Turkey’s  drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Council of Foreign Affairs of the EU decided to suspend Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement negotiations.



Turkey – EU High Level Transport Dialogue

During his visit to Turkey in 2012, Vice President Siim Kallas proposed to establish a High Level Turkey-EU Transport Dialogue mechanism. In this framework, it was decided to continue High Level Turkey-EU Transport Dialogue as working group meetings at kick-off meeting in Brussels on 9 December 2013. In order to reach some solid results on different aspects of transport sector it is decided to form three working groups: First is the working group on rail transport together with Trans-European Transport policy, the second is the working group on road transport and last one is the working group on maritime transport.

Ministry of EU Affairs hosted the first working group meeting on rail transport together with TEN-T. During the meeting Turkish and European Commission side shared their opinions and relevant information on the areas of Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and rail transport with the common objective of enhancing the cooperation. The second working group meeting on road safety, intelligent transport systems and maritime transport was held in Brussels on 17 October 2014.

TR-EU High Level Transport Dialogue has been revitalized during the visit of Mrs. Violeta Bulc, the then European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport, to our country on 5-6 July 2017. The Ministerial level meeting was realized on 27 November 2017 in Brussels. The meeting was fruitful for the parties and a roadmap for future meetings and studies has been determined. On 20 April 2018, Mrs. Bulc revisited Turkey and in this visit, a Ministerial meeting and a field visit to Halkalı-Kapıkule Railway Line, which will be constructed with EU funds, has been realized. The groundbreaking ceremony of Halkalı-Kapıkule Railway Line was held on September 25, 2019 in Edirne. Mr. Mehmet Cahit Turhan, the then Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Mrs. Bulc and Mr. Angel Popov, Deputy Minister of Transport, Information Technologies and Communications of Bulgaria attended the ceremony.

On 15 January 2019, a high level dialogue with a comprehensive agenda was realized with a level of deputy Minister, and a meeting between Bulc and Mehmet Cahit Turhan, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, was held on 5 February 2019 in the framework of Turhan’s visit to Brussels. In these meetings, it is decided to increase the cooperation between the parties. On the other hand, on July 15, 2019, in light of Turkey’s drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Council of Foreign Affairs of the EU agreed not to hold further meetings of the EU-Turkey high-level dialogues, including TR-EU High Level Transport Dialogue.



EuropAid138069/IH/SER/TR Road Safety – Vision Zero Ministry of Interior, Turkish National Police, Ongoing

Project Year/Number


Project Title



Beneficiary Institution


State of



Improvement of Road Safety in Turkey



General Directorate of Highways





Safer Seas: Upgrading of Turkish Coastal



Directorate General of Coastal Safety





Reform of the Turkish Railways



Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications
 (Turkish State Railways)





Weight and Dimension Controls of Commercial



Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications





Strengthening Intermodal Transport in Turkey



Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications





Improved Maritime Education & Training in Turkey



Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications





Control of Ship-Sourced Emissions in Turkey



Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications





Reform of the Turkish Railways (Phase II)



Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications





Improvement Of Maritime Safety Regarding Handling Of Dangerous Goods At Ports And Coastal Facilities



Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications





Capacity Building for Prevention of Marine Pollution Caused by Ship-Sourced Wastes



Ministry of Environment and Urbanization

Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications /Coast Guard Command/ Antalya, Mersin, Kocaeli and İstanbul Metropolitan Municipalities





Strengthening Institutional and Administrative Capacity of the DGCA



General Directorate of Civil Aviation





Capacity Building on Safety and Security Training Requirements of the Turkish Civil Aviation



General Directorate of Civil Aviation





Assistance on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (ESEI)



Ministry of Transport, Maritime
 Affairs  and Communications



Updated: 13/07/2020 / Hit: 70,773