China-Turkey extradition bill likely to focus on counter-terrorism cooperation, experts say

By Zhang Han Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/24 21:08:39

A Turkish honor guard marches carrying a 350-meter flag to celebrate the 98th anniversary of the liberation of Turkey's Aegean province of Izmir. Photo: VCG

China is eyeing an extradition treaty with Turkey which experts believe will promote bilateral judicial cooperation and facilitate cracking down on transnational crimes, including terrorism.

Zhang Yesui, chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress, reported the progress of the treaty at a Wednesday top legislature meeting. 

The treaty signals progress in bilateral judicial cooperation, Li Wei, a counterterrorism expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday.

China has 169 extradition treaties and judicial assistance bills with 81 countries and regions, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The countries involved will discuss and reach an agreement on what situations the extradition treaty applies to, experts said, noting the China-Turkey extradition treaty is likely to focus on counter-terrorism, given the geopolitical situation of Turkey.

Li said an extradition mechanism is important in cracking down on transnational crimes, such as drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorism. Terrorists will be deterred as they can no longer commit crimes in one country and flee to another, Li said. 

The China-Turkey treaty will not only help safeguard peace and stability in Chinese territories, but also facilitate counter-terrorism actions in the region extending from China's northwestern border, Li said. 

China and Turkey already have a judicial assistance agreement. China has signed similar extradition treaties with regional countries including Pakistan and Afghanistan, but the latter have not taken effect yet. 

Some Western media attacked China's extradition treaty with Turkey and other regional countries as a move to coerce those countries into deporting Uygurs who fled China, which is sheer slander of normal international legal cooperation, experts said. 

 "The West is trying to leave audience the impression that China is targeting Uygurs in particular when the treaty is actually aimed at criminals regardless of their ethnicity," Li said. An extradition request will be raised when there is a crime, and the case will be handled in accordance with international law and related bills. All men are equal before the law, the expert said. 

Observers also emphasized that China and Turkey have a wide range of areas on which to cooperate, and bilateral relations will not be poisoned by Western instigations. 

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a phone conversation with Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on December 14, during which Wang said that both sides should oppose the politicization and double standard of counterterrorism issues. Cavusoglu said Turkey will not allow anyone to undermine China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, according to a statement on the Chinese foreign ministry website.

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