Turkey, given its central location, will play a pivotal role in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese experts have said.
They also rejected claims that Beijing would use the funds and loans for the project to expand its influence over the recipient countries.
Speaking at an event in Ankara, the director general of the Institute for Borderland Studies at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Xing Guangcheng said that because of Turkey's geographical location, the country holds a significant position in the One Belt, One Road (OBOR), another name for BRI, project.
In reply to a question on whether the loans provided by China would create problems for the recipient countries, Guangcheng said, "Some pundits liken OBOR to Washington's famous Marshall Plan, which is a complete misperception."
"Some experts are presenting OBOR as a project that only serves China's interest. However, China's wants to establish a common initiative with other countries. This is a win-win project," he said.
Initiated in 2013 by China, OBOR looks to connect Asia, Africa and Europe, with billions of dollars' worth of infrastructural investment projects involving roads, railways, ports and energy transmission lines.
The initiative intends to buil d transportation, telecommunications, energy and other infrastructure networks in these regions, integrate them with each other, provide financing for new projects and revitalize trade and investment partnerships together with interregional customs and tax coordination.
In comparison, the U.S. Marshall Plan – implemented right after World War II – saw Washington spend more than $12 billion to support post-war reconstruction in Western Europe. Some experts say, it led to a substantial amount of debts and made many countries aid-dependent to Washington.
Guangcheng said that the issues on Chinese credit for the project have sometimes been misunderstood or misrepresented. He stressed the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank's (AIIB) role in solving such financial problems.
"There are multilateral trade agreements between China and other countries within the scope of this project. It is a matter of joint profit or joint loss. China has no power to effectuate this initiative alone," he added.
Some reports, particularly in the Western media, have suggested that China may use the huge loans to make countries dependent on Beijing.
Pakistan is one of the countries central to Chinese President Xi Jinping's ambitious project. Beijing has so far pledged up to $60 billion in financing in the country. However, Islamabad has cut down on some of the big projects in OBOR, citing its growing concerns over the debt.
Li Ren, the deputy director of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region Development and Reform Commission, said the project will also bring great economic advantages to the people of Xinjiang.
"Xinjiang will become the center of four important corridors as part of this project – including China-Mongolia, Eurasia, China-Middle Asia and Pakistan. Some big projects in transportation, commerce, logistics, culture and health are being carried out there," he said.
China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region is home to many ethnic minority groups, including Uighur Turks, who make up around 45 percent of the population. The Chinese government has faced criticism for its repressive policies that restrain religious and cultural activities in the region.
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