Spotlight: Erdogan's visit sign of aligned Turkish-Chinese interests: experts

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-02 22:40:48|Editor: yan
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ANKARA, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to China on Tuesday shows that bilateral relations between the two nations are blossoming and that their interests are aligned, say experts in Turkey.

"The importance of the Turkish President's visit is that it shows clearly that the two countries which share important economic and trade interests are in an uninterrupted high-level dialogue," Altay Atli, a scholar of Istanbul's Koc university, told Xinhua.

"It is of outmost importance that the two nations understand each other," said the expert on the Asian-Pacific and especially China.

As a prelude to their talks in Beijing, Erdogan and Chinese President Xi Jinping met last month on the sidelines of the fifth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, and discussed future areas of cooperation.

During that meeting, Xi said that he highly values China-Turkey relations and is willing to work with Erdogan to translate bilateral friendship into mutual trust and open new chapters in promoting the China-Turkey strategic cooperative relationship.

Erdogan also stressed the importance of bilateral ties. Speaking at Ankara airport last month ahead of his departure to the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Osaka, Japan, Erdogan said that his country values its comprehensive strategic partnership with China.

"We see the need to sustain a strong dialogue with China for the stability of the multilateral trade system," the Turkish leader added.

"There is a real substantial common interest at stake in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) where Turkey is especially interested in infrastructure and energy projects," said Atli.

The expert mentioned how China agreed to co-develop airline and telecommunication businesses with Turkey within the framework of the BRI.

Observers also emphasized the support given by the Chinese government when the Turkish economy was hit hard by last year's currency turmoil after nearly a decade of strong growth.

When the value of the Turkish currency dropped by more than 40 percent last summer, China loaned 3.6 billion U.S. dollars to fund infrastructure projects in Turkey, a lifesaver for ongoing programs.

"For Turkey, relations with China are relations of opportunity when projects are bases on common interests and are rational for both parties," remarked Hasim Turker, senior researcher at the Ankara-based Bosphorus Center for Asian Studies (BAAM).

Turker told Xinhua that Turkey, as a bridge between Europe and Asia, occupies a strategic position in the BRI, which he described as "a very important initiative for Turkey."

He pointed out that while European countries were actually very eager to join this interregional project, "Turkey doesn't have the luxury not to be an active part of it," as it would reshape future trade routes.

The experts also expressed hope that China could increase its foreign direct investment (FDI) in Turkey.

"We expect from China to build factories in Turkey and produce and add value, that is what Turkey needs at this time," emphasized Atli.

The FDI would represent a non-hegemonic alternative to Western monetary institutions, with whom Turkey has had troubled relations in the past, and helping Ankara in its hour of need would bolster the mutually supportive relations between the two developing countries, experts said.