Sino-Turkish ties can overcome conflicts

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-7-30 0:48:40

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in China for a state visit from Wednesday to Thursday. Coming after a series of incidents over Sino-Turkish ties, which have drawn much attention, Erdogan's trip this time has been thrust into the spotlight. Yet analysts widely believe that his visit will not be dimmed because of these issues.

The foundation of China-Turkey ties is solid. The two countries enjoy not only a strategic cooperative relationship, but also a surging economic collaboration. Over certain major issues, China and Turkey share close or the same opinions.

Turkey is the only NATO member that has publicly considered purchasing a Chinese missile defense system. On this issue, Washington piled pressure on Ankara. It is therefore uncertain whether Turkey could finally sign the deal. Yet it mirrors Ankara's trust in Beijing and its hesitation on balancing its relationship with China and with other strategic partners.

Both China and Turkey are the victims of terrorism. China is facing harassing attacks by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). In Turkey, the root of terrorist attacks stems from Kurdish issues. Moreover, the nation is also very close to the stronghold of the Islamic State. The two countries can hence realize communications under the principle of fighting terror.

The problem, however, lies in the pan-Turkism ideology in the country. Some Turks have a sense of historical kinship toward Turkic-speaking nationalities in Central Asia, and such feelings are hyped by political factors from time to time during elections. For the moment, some Uyghur  immigrants from China living in Turkey have the right to vote, which in turn can have an impact on certain parties' attitudes toward Xinjiang-related issues. The Turkish government is incapable of taking complete control of this matter, over which the country's political figures and media have published some irresponsible remarks. But Turkey's government has continued to stress its stance over the one-China policy.

During the meeting between Erdogan and his counterpart, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, he clearly expressed that the Turkish government opposes ETIM's terrorist activities aimed at China, and is willing to boost cooperation with China in this regard. This is the most public, as well as the most clear statement of Turkey's government on the ETIM. It is of great significance to enhance the understanding of mutual trust between China and Turkey, and this is a highlight of Erdogan's visit this time.

On the one hand, Turkey is well aware that it has no capacity to interfere in China's internal affairs. On the other, some Turkish political figures and media always tend to have something to say over Xinjiang-related issues at certain times. Facing this, China should maintain a matter-of-fact attitude, stick to its principles and not compromise to any unreasonable demands from Turkey. China should also neither magnify nor overanalyze such conflicts, in order not to overstate its position in the big picture of Sino-Turkish ties.

Turkey is a major power in the Middle East, with a sound economic foundation. Furthermore, its government has raised the "2023 vision," aiming at being one of the top 10 world economies by 2023. Ankara is interested in China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative, and is hoping to connect it with its "2023 vision." There is solid ground for the two sides to overcome conflicts and promote strategic cooperation.

We welcome Erdogan, an experienced politician. We hope that he comes with good wishes, and will deliver China's truthful message and best wishes to his country.

Posted in: Editorial

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