Turkey, China can partner on business, anti-terror

By Wen Dao Source:Global Times Published: 2015-7-29 0:33:01

Wednesday sees Recep Erdogan's first state visit to China as Turkish president. Back in 2012 when he was Turkish prime minister, his landmark trip to China was the first for 27 years.

Generally speaking, Sino-Turkish bilateral relations have steadily improved in recent years. China is Turkey's third-largest trading partner, and Turkey attracted 200,000 Chinese tourists in 2014, a 43 percent growth compared to 2013.

A close relationship with China is important for Turkey's future, if it  wants to realize its "2023 vision," according to which the country should become a top 10 global economy by 2023. For China, Turkey, as one of the strongest countries in the Middle East and a gateway to South Europe, is a crucial link in its "One Belt, One Road" initiative. Common economic interests are the major drive that can keep bilateral ties on the right track.

Very likely, Uyghur and Xinjiang related issues will be on Erdogan's agenda during his meetings with his Chinese counterparts. These issues have been a reason for the many ups and downs in Sino-Turkish relations.

China is facing an increasing threat of terrorism. Turkey just suffered a deadly terrorist attack launched by the Islamic State (IS) on July 20. The two countries have a common interest in fighting terrorism.

But the complicated and controversial connections between the East Turkestan Islamic Movement and the Uyghurs have caused quite a few setbacks in the relationship. Turkey's intervention in Xinjiang and the Uyghurs is triggered by the mixture of long-standing pan-Turkism, pan-Islamism and the recognition of Western values. The misconception that the Uyghurs are being suppressed in China is unfortunately dominant in Turkey.

The overwhelming influence of these misunderstandings has a major impact on Turkey's foreign policy and domestic politics. The Turkish government keeps wavering, even to the extent that it reneges on its commitments to China in the matter of Xinjiang and the Uyghurs.

It has been revealed that Turkish diplomatic agencies provided assistance to smuggle Xinjiang Uyghur terrorists into the Middle East. The extensive pan-Turkism is against the interests of Turkey.

It is hoped Erdogan's visit can provide an opportunity for Beijing and Ankara to improve communication and remove misunderstanding. It will be of mutual benefit if the two countries can partner in doing business and also in fighting terror. 

Posted in: Observer

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