China-Turkey ties expected to advance under Xi's leadership: experts

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-3-21 9:13:49

China-Turkey relations were expected to advance further with the election of new Chinese President Xi Jinping and a new government led by Premier Li Keqiang, analysts said.

"The new leadership of China is expected to give further momentum in efforts to flesh out the strategic partnership between the two countries that was signed in 2010," Ramazan Tas, professor of economics at Ankara-based Turgut Ozal University and expert on Sino-Turkish ties, told Xinhua.

"The action plans to put this partnership into effect have already been drawn and I expect the new government will follow through on these," he said.

An added incentive was the comprehensive programs around the Year of Turkish Culture in China this year, Tas said.

Xi's visit to Turkey last year "certainly epitomizes the level that our friendship and constantly flourishing bilateral relations have reached," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Xinhua.

"We believe that Turkish-Chinese relations will continue to develop to the mutual benefit of our peoples in the period ahead," Davutoglu said.

Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Omer Celik departed for China Tuesday to officially launch the culture year. He will visit Beijing and Shanghai.

The Turkish culture year comes on the heels of the Year of Chinese Culture in Turkey, a 12-month program that showed the traditional and contemporary aspects of Chinese culture in Turkey's major cities. It ended in February.

Turkish cultural events are planned to be held in 12 provinces across China. The program includes performing arts events, art exhibitions, concerts, a Turkish cuisine week and a fashion show.

Around 120,000 people from China visited Turkey throughout the Year of Chinese Culture in Turkey. The promotion of Turkey in China through cultural programs in 2013 is expected to bring more Chinese tourists to Turkey.

Bilateral trade stood at 19 billion US dollars last year, heavily favoring China.

Tas said China was trying to compensate for the huge trade imbalance with Chinese investment in the Turkish economy. "This will be very important as both countries pledged last year to boost the volume to 100 billion dollars by 2020."

The Export-Import Bank of China is lending Turkish State Railways 770 million dollars to upgrade existing infrastructure and build new lines for high-speed rail services.

Chinese companies are targeting mining, construction, communication and energy industries in Turkey.

There is a Chinese offer to build Turkey's second nuclear power plant, valued at some 20 billion to 24 billion dollars.

"The Chinese offer is a very competitive one against South Korean, Canadian, French and Russian bids," a government official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The government is expected to announce the successful tender soon.

Ibrahim Ozturk, a professor of economics and business columnist, said Turkey needs to better understand China and other rising Asian economies.

He said the share of Russia, China and India in Turkey's trade volume was 19, 14 and 4 percent, respectively, and "Turkey should invest in human capital to understand these countries."

Ozturk suggested Turkey establish cultural centers, invite experts from the above-mentioned countries to learn from their knowledge, send graduate students to these countries and open language schools.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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