Modern Silk Road a new phase in Turkish-Chinese ties

METIN CAN
ISTANBUL
Published 16.03.2017 22:37
Updated 17.03.2017 00:44

China, one of the most important markets in the world, has launched a project that will overturn the global trade balances. The One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project, also known as the Modern Silk Road project, which will be the largest of its kind in the world, will launch on May 15. The corridor on which the route of the Modern Silk Road is located is fully operational, the duration of shipment time between China and Turkey will be shortened from 30 days to 10 days. Goods delivered in a two-month time frame via sea from Beijing will arrive in Istanbul in only two weeks. A 3,000-kilometer (1,864-mile) reduction will be achieved at the highway, as well.

Turkey becomes the founding member

The International Transporters' Association CEO Fatih Şener said a truck that sets off from Istanbul is obstructed in many countries, especially in Austria because of the bureaucratic obstacles there, stressing that some trucks do not reach Germany even in two weeks. Highlighting that incredible opportunities have emerged for Turkey thanks to the project,Şener noted that while Turkey is faced with additional and new logistical challenges every day in its trade with the West, the traffic in the east is seen to accelerate day by day with China's initiative. He also added that while products were previously delivered from China to the West in six-to-eight weeks, this period can be reduced to 10 days for Istanbul.

Middle corridor is completed

The project launched by China affects 65 countries and a $21-trillion trade cycle. Many countries in Asia have made significant investments in order to integrate into this network. Investments in Turkey, which is located in the most strategic position at the crossroads, have also been significantly completed. The Marmaray, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars and the Edirne-Kars railway projects developed by Turkey so far, constitute the middle corridor of the Modern Silk Road.

Invitation extended to 65 countries worldwide

A total of 65 countries will come together in China's capital city of Beijing May 14-15 for the launching of the project. Chinese President Xi Jinping also sent an invitation to Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to go to China on May 14 for the summit and hold bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart.

What is OBOR?

President Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013,proposing to build a trade-and infrastructure-based network, connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes. "One Belt, One Road," refers to the "Silk Road Economic Belt," which recreates the ancient, land-based Silk Road trade routes from China across Central Asia and into to the Middle East and Europe, also known as the "Modern Silk Road."The OBOR's northern corridor passes through Kazakhstan and Russia while the middle corridor cuts through the Caspian region and the southern corridor goes through Iran. Turkey lies in the OBOR's middle corridor, which is considered the fastest route for the transfer of Chinese goods to Europe.

Turkey and the modern-day Silk Road

With Turkey very much acquainted with the ancient Silk Road, which it once partially controlled, the modern-day interpretation of the Silk Road, supported by China, is of great importance for the country's aim to increase its trade volume.

The modern Silk Road project will yield vast economic opportunities that could boost the trade volume between all the parties included in it. Since Turkey is located on a strategic route, close to where the Silk Road ends, the country is considered a hub through which Chinese goods will be delivered to Europe. This will seal the integration of the Silk Road to global markets.

As President Re cep Tayyip Erdoğan underscored at the 13th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Summit in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, Turkey's mega projects were in line with China's new Silk Road initiative.

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