Turkey, China set sights on cementing burgeoning bilateral ties

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 27.04.2017 23:23
Updated 27.04.2017 23:24
Turkey, China set sights on cementing burgeoning bilateral ties

Speaking at Turkey's 2nd China Research Conference in the capital city Thursday, Chinese Ambassador to Ankara Yu Hongyang expressed his satisfaction with the political, commercial, economic and cultural bilateral relationships with Turkey that have improved with the "One Belt, One Road" project in recent years. Emphasizing that the Silk Road, a route between Turkey and China, has left a valuable legacy and taught both countries important lessons in history, Ambassador Hongyang said, "Different nationalities, beliefs, political systems and cultures can develop peacefully under such guiding principles as solidarity, mutual trust and good will, equality and tolerance."

The ambassador went on to note that Turkey and China attach great importance to preserving the historical relationship between the two countries.

Emphasizing that international communication between the two states will be sustainable through the mutual understanding of the people, the ambassador drew attention to the amount of public support shown for international developments. He highlighted the support coming from both the Turkish people and the Chinese, calling this vital aspect of enhancing cooperation across a variety of fields. He also asserted that communication between the Turkish and Chinese people, coupled with tolerance and friendship, will likely provide the public support necessary for continued bilateral relations, noting: "We must maintain and promote the sense of the historic Silk Road for friendly cooperation."

Similar to the historic Silk Road project, the One Belt, One Road project will increase the connectivity of trade routes between the Asian and European continents through 65 countries. The project will be launched on May 15 and is expected to generate a $21-trillion trade cycle. The development comes as Turkey has already built significant projects to integrate itself with the route; namely, the EuroAsia tunnel, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars and the Edirne-Kars railway projects.

Meanwhile, speaking at the conference, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Tuğrul Türkeş pointed out that Turkey views China as a long-term alliance in many fields. Türkeş indicated that the two countries have deep political and cultural ties that stem from a strong friendship, asserting that frequent diplomatic visits between the two countries will lay the foundation for further economic and commercial developments.

Referring to the importance of developing bilateral relations, the ambassador noted that "China is Turkey's second largest trade partner in the world and was the first largest in Asia in 2016. The complementary structures of our economy offer a wide range of opportunities for further cooperation."

During Chinese President Xİ Jinping's visit to Turkey in 2015, a memorandum of understanding on the adjustment of economic, social and cultural plans titled, "Middle Corridor" was launched as an initiative under the One Belt, One Road project to reinvigorate the historic Silk Road and was signed between Turkey and China that same year. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit Chinese capital Beijing on May 15-16 to attend the One Belt, One Road forum, an initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013.

Regional state leaders to attend the forum alongside President Erdoğan include Russia's President Vladimir Putin, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indonesia's President Joko Widodo.

China has also shown support for Turkey's possible membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Chinese officials recently voiced their willingness to consider an application from Turkey to join a Russia- and China-led security bloc. Ankara has expressed that it is considering the option. China is currently among the top 20 destinations for Turkish exports.

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